Police registered a sedition case against the organisers of an event at Delhi’s Press Club of India (PCI) for allegedly shouting anti-India slogans to protest the 2001 hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
New Delhi deputy commissioner of police Jatin Narwal said the FIR named Delhi University professor SAR Geelani, the main organiser of the Wednesday event who was acquitted 13 years ago in the Parliament terror strike case.
“Geelani has reportedly been summoned to join investigation. He may be placed under arrest if found guilty by police,” said a Delhi Police source.
The FIR came as home minister Rajnath Singh came down on a group of students at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, who were booked by police on identical charges.
“Stringent action must be taken against them who raised anti-India slogans in JNU,” Singh told reporters.
Police filed the first FIR over a Tuesday event in JNU where a group of students, including some former members of a Left-leaning student association, mourned Afzal Guru’s hanging and allegedly shouted anti-government slogans.
“We took suo moto cognizance of the PCI event and filed an FIR,” said a police officer.
Police filed the FIR under sections 124A — whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the government established by law in India — and 120B –criminal conspiracy — of the IPC. A team has been formed to probe the case.
An officer said they have identified the event’s organiser and the PCI member who booked the venue.
“Separate notices will be issued to them and also to the PCI administration, seeking their explanations on the anti-national events during which some participants raised slogans like ‘Afzal Guru amar rahe’ and ‘Kashmir lekar rahengen’. Whosoever will be found guilty will be strictly punished,” the officer said.
The police have also asked the organisers and PCI to provide them video footage of the entire event. Police sources told HT the PCI administration does not have any video footage of the event in the absence of CCTV cameras at the venue.
The PCI management has told police that the hall was booked by Ali Javed, a club member who didn’t specify the objective of the event. A notice was served to him.
Club functionaries said they stopped the event as soon as they heard participants shouting anti-India slogans, sources said.
Senior police officers, however, said the event was stopped almost three hours after the meeting started. “We are in the process of identifying those who raised such anti-government slogans and praised Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat as martyrs,” the officer said.