NEW DELHI: A Delhi court on Friday granted interim bail for six months to JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, facing sedition charges for allegedly raising anti-India slogans at the university last month. The bail was granted on the ground of parity with the university’s students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar, who was released in the beginning of the month.
The duo was released from Tihar Jail late evening and was escorted by Delhi Police officials to JNU. Student supporters at JNU have planned a victory march on the campus and played Holi after the order of bail was pronounced.
Additional Sessions Judge Reetesh Singh granted relief to the duo after they were asked to furnish a personal bond of Rs 25,000 each with one surety of the like amount, which was complied with by them. The court ordered them released till September 19. Sangeeta Das Gupta and Rajat Dutta, two teachers at JNU’s Centre for Historical Studies, stood sureties for Anirban and Umar respectively.
The court said, “Although allegations levelled against Umar and Anirban are per se serious in nature but as claimed by police themselves, the video footage of the incident has been sent to the forensic sciences laboratory. Its analysis and final report will take time.”
“When all aforesaid circumstances are weighed together and keeping in view that no previous criminal record of any nature whatsoever has been alleged and the fact that nothing has been brought on record which could indicate that they are likely to abscond from the jurisdiction of the court, then besides the ground of parity vis-a-vis release of Kanhaiya Kumar on bail, I deem it appropriate to release both the accused on interim bail for a period of six months...,” the judge said in a 12-page order.
The court also directed Umar and Anirban not to leave Delhi without its permission and to make themselves available as and when required for the probe. The court noted that keeping in view the allegations against the accused, the “question arises as to whether the present accused can claim any parity with co-accused Kanhaiya Kumar who has been granted bail.”
Referring to the status report filed by Delhi Police before the high court while opposing Kanhaiya’s bail plea, the judge said it was “apparent that the case set up by the police qua co-accused Kanhaiya Kumar was also of organising as well as participating in the said event”.