The university’s administration has barred the police from entering the premises, and the five students have been cordoned off at the admin block.
Photo Credit: Twitter/ANI
The team from Delhi's Criminal Investigation Department were 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. Among them was Umar Khalid, whom the police have been 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 are choosing not to leave the campus, but won't refuse arrest if the police choose to take such action.
The university's administration has called a meeting with its top officials, and reports said vice chancellor Jagdeesh Kumar is also holding a meeting with the Registrar and Students' Union representatives. Meanwhile, the police have reportedly said they will not enter the University premises without the vice chancellor's permission. Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi on Monday said if the accused students are innocent, they should assist the police's ongoing investigation.
Khalid and the other students – Anant Prakash Narayan, Ashutosh Kumar, Rama Naga and Anirban Bhattacharya – have denied that they were involved in any “anti-national” activities. They claim 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.
Scroll.in further reports:
The Big Story: Genuine JNU
The absconding students of Jawaharlal Nehru University returned to campus late on Sunday night. Ten days after the Delhi Police began looking for them to book them for allegedly shouting anti-national slogans, some of the students showed up in front of the administration block and began delivering speeches. The students are accused of sedition in connection with events on February 9 and 11, when anti-national slogans were allegedly raised on campus, although there is little clarity yet of who said what.
The university administration said it would not permit the Delhi Police to come on to campus last night, after earlier having permitted the authorities to storm into JNU and pick up the student union president Kanhaiya Kumar, who has also been accused of sedition. Though the students said they were ready to surrender, this time it seemed as if the administration and the lawyers working with the students had put together a plan to turn up and build support on campus rather than be quietly picked up like criminals. It bears repeating: At worst, these students have been accused of raising slogans – not looting armories or shooting at people.
The standoff, with Delhi Police waiting at the JNU gates, cannot last forever. , It seems only a matter of time before the students will be arrested. How this plays out is crucial. Delhi Police performed terribly last week, unable to prevent attacks on journalists and Kumar inside a court complex while leaks from the Home Ministry suggested it had overreacted in arresting the JNUSU president.The police will first have to ensure the safety of all the accused at a time when goons seem to be baying for their blood. But the bigger question of the Delhi Police's living up to its duty remains in its investigation of the case: With crucial evidence turning out to be doctored, can we trust the police to genuinely appraise the nature of the charges against the students?