The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.
Avilash Majumder, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur
On complaints of sedition, the Delhi Police arrested the president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Students’ Union, Kanhaiya Kumar, on February 13, following the protests in the JNU campus against the hanging of the 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.Here is how it all started.
- On February 9, some students from the Jawaharlal Nehru University organised an event in the campus protesting against the hanging of 2001 Parliament attack accused, Afzal Guru
- Mohammad Afzal Guru was hanged on February 3, in 2013, on charges of ‘voluntarily harboring and concealing the deceased terrorists’
- According to some of the witnesses, posters inviting students to join a debate on ‘Judicial Killing’ were pasted across the campus
- A protest march against ‘judicial killing of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat’ and a debate in solidarity with the ‘struggle’ of Kashmiri migrants were also supposed to be held at the Sabarmati dhaba in the campus
- The program was named ‘A country without a post office – against the judicial killing of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhatt’. As per reports, the alleged peaceful protest was supposed to be held through poetry, art and music, a part of a cultural evening organised to question the working of the Supreme Court
- According to an eyewitness, some 20 minutes before the meeting was going to start, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP) reached out to the administration of JNU asking it to withdraw the permission of the meeting as it was ‘harmful for the campus atmosphere’
- The organisers decided to continue the meeting around the dhaba area on the campus without the mics
- While a silent protest was going on, some ABVP members gathered at the protest site and started threatening and intimidating the students, including Kashmiri students, who had gathered there to take part in the meeting
- As per the reports given by an eye witness, none of the students, who were part of the organising committee, were part of the anti-national students. It has also been said that ABVP members had started shouting slogans such as Ye Kashmir Hamara Hai, Saara Ka Saara Hai
- The students who were part of the committee that organised an event to mark the death anniversary of Afzal Guru said that none of them were part of the group that was shouting slogans
- Following the peaceful cultural event which turned into an agitated event, a case of sedition against several unknown students was lodged at the Vasant Kunj (North) police station
- The complaint was registered under IPC Sections 124-A (sedition), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (acts done by several persons with a common intention)
- JNU Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested on sedition charges and ordered to three days of police custody after allegations of ‘anti-national’ sloganeering surfaced against him
- On February 14, the Patiala House courts witnessed violence as a mob, wearing lawyer’s robes, slapped and kicked supporters of Kanhaiya Kumar
- Umar Khalid, the organiser of the event and the other students who were involved in organising the event at the campus were also slapped with sedition charges
- The students who had organised the event went missing from the campus on February 12
- Former DU professor, S A R Geelani, was arrested on February 16 as he is presumed to be the ‘main organiser’ of the event and also because the request for booking a hall at the Press Club was allegedly done through his e-mail id
- On February 16, the website of JNU’s Central library was hacked with a message displaying ‘You are thinking that you will get Kashmir just by barking in the campus of JNU’
- Five JNU students, including Umar Khalid, who the police had been looking for in connection with the sedition case, surfaced on campus on Sunday, February 21, saying that they did not do anything wrong and alleged that they were ‘framed’ using a ‘doctored video’
- On February 23, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya surrendered before the Delhi Police after the Delhi High Court directed them to give themselves in
- The interrogation of Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya has thrown more light on the process of the event and that Khalid conceived the idea of the event while Anirban made the posters and distributed them among the students.