JNU Students Must Prove Their Innocence, Says Police Chief Bassi

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Feb 22: A team from Delhi’s Criminal Investigation Department have been waiting at the gates of Jawaharlal Nehru University on Monday as five students accused of sedition sat cordoned off in the admin block, having returned to the campus late on Sunday night. Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi has said if the students are innocent, they should assist the police’s ongoing investigation and provide proof of their innocence. Among the five was Umar Khalid, whom the police were looking for since February 11. Khalid has been on the police’s radar after he was named as the person who organised the Afzal Guru protests that set off the ongoing fracas. The students have said they choose not to leave the campus, but won’t refuse arrest if the police choose to take such action.

Meanwhile, the police have reportedly said they will not enter the university premises without the vice chancellor’s permission. The university’s administration called a meeting with its top officials, and reports said vice chancellor Jagdeesh Kumar also held a meeting with the Registrar and Students’ Union representatives. The university’s Teachers’ Association also extended its support to the students and said charges should not be “frivolously applied” to them.

Khalid and the other students – Anant Prakash Narayan, Ashutosh Kumar, Rama Naga and Anirban Bhattacharya – denied that they were involved in any “anti-national” activities. They claimed that the videos showing students shouting “aazadi” were doctored. It was based on these videos that the police sent a look-out notice for Khalid, and the issue spiralled out of control. Naga on Monday said that some protestors joined the Afzal Guru event on February 9 and shouted the anti-national slogans in question, but were asked to leave. The event was organised to protest Guru’s hanging after he was convicted of the 2001 Parliament attack.

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