NEW DELHI: A mob of around 50 lawyers thrashed half-a-dozen media representatives, manhandled three women journalists and snatched their phones, pinned down and kicked around 25 students and teachers of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) inside and outside the Patiala House Court in Delhi where the sedition case against JNU Students’ Union president Kanaihya Kumar was to be heard on Monday.
The mob used abusive language against students and the media, shouted anti-Pakistan and pro-India slogans, till late evening. Sensing that things could spiral out of control, the police produced the accused before Metropolitan Magistrate Lovleen Kaur at the Vasant Vihar police station, where his custody was extended by two more days.
Meanwhile, ex-DU professor SAR Geelani, who was booked for sedition in connection with an event at the Press Club of India here, was detained.
Union Minister Kiren Rijiju defended Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the unrest in JNU after Kanaihya Kumar’s arrest, and said there were enough indications that LeT founder Hafiz Saeed was backing the incident in the JNU.
“Intelligence inputs indicated that Hafiz Saeed and some related organisations were backing the JNU incidents. That is what the Home Minister had said,” said Rijiju, adding “as intelligence inputs can’t be shared or analysed in public, political parties supporting the anti-nationals should learn what patriotism is.”
“A day after the anti-national event took place on the JNU campus, a group of students tried to burn the Tricolour and a call was also made to the police control room,” the Delhi Police intelligence unit told Express.
The families of those who were killed in the 2001 attack on Parliament demanded stringent action against the students involved in the alleged anti-national activities at JNU.
“Action should be taken against the students who raised the issue of Afzal Guru,” said Ganga Devi, wife of Delhi Police ASI Nanak Chand, who lost his life in the Parliament attack.
Later in the day, Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi promised action against those involved in Monday’s attack. “Action will be taken in accordance with law. I will speak to the Delhi Police Commissioner,” he said. On his part, Commissioner B S Bassi described the incidents in the court complex as a ‘scuffle’ and that no major injuries had been reported. It was a complete failure on the part of Deputy Commissioner of Police Jatin Narwal to judge the situation and deploy adequate personnel. It all began around 2 pm when a group of lawyers entered the courtroom and told those present there to leave the premises as they had not sought prior permission to attend the case proceedings.
When a group of students objected to it saying it was an open court, they started thrashing them. A person standing near the stairs of the courtroom was badly beaten up. Later, he was let off when he told them he was an employee of the court.
The mob then started targeting students and teachers selectively on the court premises. Some even hurled shoes at them. Later, nine journalists, who were attacked, lodged a complaint at the Tilak Marg Police Station.
“Several faculty members, including me, were manhandled and pushed in court,” said JNU professor Ayesha Kidwai.