NEWS
17/01/2019 10:57 AM IST | Updated 17/01/2019 11:00 AM IST

JNU Sedition Row Orchestrated By ABVP To Divert Attention From Vemula's Death, Say Ex-Members

Former JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar and nine others were accused of raising anti-India slogans and charged with sedition by the Delhi Police on Monday.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Ex-ABVP member Pradeep Narwal (C) speaks to the media in the presence of ex-ABVP member Jatin Goraya (L) during a press conference, at Women's Press Club, Windsor Place on 16 January 2019 in New Delhi.

NEW DELHI — Two former Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad’s members, who had quit the student outfit in 2016, questioned the timing of the chargesheet in the JNU sedition row and said it is “politically motivated”.

The ABVP said the two were siding with the Congress, which had supported the accused students, and termed it a “political ploy” divert attention.

Then ABVP JNU unit joint secretary Pradeep Narwal and two others had resigned from their posts following clashes in the campus over an incident on February 9, 2016 in which “anti-national slogans” were allegedly raised.

ABVP’s JNU unit vice-president Jatin Goraya had resigned from the post in August 2016, saying he was “tired” of the ABVP’s stand on the attacks against Dalits and their handling of issues, including the sedition row.

On Wednesday, Narwal said the chargesheet is politically motivated.

“Three years ago, JNU issue had triggered a media trial and with the filing of the chargesheet, it has started again. A chargesheet is usually filed within 90 days after the FIR, but what took the police three years to file the chargesheet? It is clear that the whole thing is politically motivated,” he claimed.

Goraya alleged the entire sedition row was orchestrated to ensure that the movement which started after Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula’s death on January 17, 2016, dies down.

“The Rohith Vemula movement had put the ruling party on the backfoot and the entire JNU row was orchestrated by the ABVP to gain attention. Hashtags like #ShutdownJNU were started on social media to divert attention. It was planned by the BJP, RSS and ABVP,” he alleged.

Goraya also raised questions about the veracity of the videos aired by certain news channels.

“After the chargesheet was filed, certain media channels showed four videos which had formed the basis for the filing of the chargesheet. In one of the videos, some people could be seen raising slogans of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’.

“From that video, we could see those raising slogans are ABVP members. If the videos are authentic as said by the CFSL, why is no action being initiated against the ABVP? If the videos are doctored, the police should try and find the original videos,” he said.

Saurabh Sharma, member of the RSS-affiliated ABVP, the then joint JNUSU joint secretary said,“They are siding with the Congress that has supported the accused. These are political moves to divert the issue. The matter is sub-judice and we are hopeful the truth will come out in the next few days.”

Nearly three years after former JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar and nine others were accused of raising anti-India slogans, the Delhi Police Monday charged them with sedition. In the 1,200-page charge-sheet, former JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya were also arrayed as accused.

The accused were named in the chargesheet for allegedly shouting anti-India slogans during an event on the university’s campus on February 9, 2016, to commemorate the hanging of Parliament-attack mastermind Afzal Guru

The other seven accused chargesheeted in the case are Kashmiri students Aquib Hussain, Mujeeb Hussain, Muneeb Hussain, Umar Gul, Rayeea Rassol, Bashir Bhat and Basharat. Some of them were then studying in JNU, Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia Islamia

As many as 36 others, including Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D Raja’s daughter Aprajitha, Shehla Rashid (then vice-JNUSU president), Rama Naga, Ashutosh Kumar and Banojyotsna Lahiri, all former students of JNU, have been named in column 12 of the chargesheet due to insufficient evidence against them.