The police has come under scathing attacks from a section of intelligentsia and the media for the way they have dealt with Kanhaiya Kumar. But is such criticism really justified?
The first allegation against police is that it was hasty in arresting Kanhaiya Kumar. The undisputed facts are that the incident of slogan-shouting took place on the 9th, a sitting MP lodged the FIR on the 10th, after investigating on 10th and 11th, the police questioned Kanhaiya Kumar at length on the 12th and subsequently arrested him. Should this be called ‘action taken in haste’?
The second allegation is that police should not have invoked sedition law in view of the SC ruling that mere slogan-shouting does not amount to sedition. This ruling dates back to 1962 and every police officer now in service has read it in course of his training. So, when the CP asserts that police have sufficient proof, there must be evidence of something more than slogan-shouting. It is noteworthy that Kanhaiya Kumar has appeared in Court at least thrice; two times he was remanded to police custody and third time to judicial custody. This shows clearly that the Court found prima facie case against him. Or,is it contended that even the Court was unaware of the SC ruling? And,if it is so,then given the battery of high-profile lawyers appearing for him, how come they have not got the FIR quashed by the High Court or the Supreme Court?
It is a fact that Kanhaiya Kumar received a few minor injuries during his last appearance in the Patiala House Court. But the visuals on TV show clearly that police had formed a strong ring around him and that they had to wade through an angry crowd to get him to the court when it was impossible to ward off all assaults made on him. Can it then be said that there was a police conspiracy to get him thrashed? In any case, the NHRC has issued a notice to the police and it would be better to await their verdict.
One other issue bothers me. Nobody has denied that anti-India slogans were shouted on the 9th. The videos show a sizeable crowd of students marching along unconcerned while these slogans were being raised. Are these students devoid of all feelings for the country? Would they have remained just as unconcerned if somebody had shouted slogans against JNU?
By PD Malaviya