The Delhi government has permitted the prosecution of Left leader Kanhaiya Kumar over a long-pending sedition case that alleges the former Jawaharlal Nehru University student led a procession that chanted “anti-national” slogans during an on-campus event in February 2016. Permission was given after Delhi Police wrote to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s government last week requesting it to expedite the process of sanctioning prosecution.
That letter came hours after a court directed the police to send a reminder to the ruling AAP government. The application to prosecute has been pending since January 14, 2019.
A 1,200-page chargesheet, filed over a year ago, names Kanhaiya Kumar and nine others, including two more former JNU students in Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya.
It alleges they led a procession on the anniversary of the hanging of Parliament attack mastermind Azfal Guru and supported the chanting of seditious slogans during the event.
However, the court refused the chargesheet, asking police to take requisite sanction before going ahead. At that time the court directed the cops to get sanction by February 6, 2019.
On failure to do so, the court observed: “Authorities can’t sit on file for indefinite period“. The request for sanction has been pending since.
After the court’s reminder last week Chief Minister Kejriwal said he would ask the state home department, headed by AAP’s Satyender Jain, for an early decision in the matter.
A chargesheet in a sedition case requires permission from the state government.
In this case, the Delhi Police reports to the Union Home Ministry in the BJP-led government at the centre, which is a fierce critic of the AAP that is in power in the national capital.
Both Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid have said the case is “politically motivated”.
“When the magisterial inquiry was done, it was concluded that no JNU student was involved. I want to say, the police filed a chargesheet after three years. We thank them,” Mr Kumar, who is currently at an event in Jharkhand’s Ranchi, told NDTV earlier.
“The filing of chargesheet after three years, ahead of elections, clearly shows it to be politically motivated. I trust the judiciary of my country,” he told news agency ANI.
Kanhaiya Kumar, who has emerged as a fierce critic of the ruling BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, made his electoral debut in last year’s Lok Sabha election. He contested from Bihar’s Begusarai seat on a Communist Party of India (CPI) ticket but lost to the BJP’s Giriraj Singh by over 4 lakh votes.