NEW DELHI: Charged with sedition, former JNU student leaders Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid questioned the filing of the chargesheet ahead of the Lok Sabha polls and said the police action was “politically motivated” and a “diversionary ploy” by the BJP-led central government.
“If the news is true that a charge sheet has been filed, I would like to thank police and Modi. The filing of the charge sheet after 3 years, ahead of the elections, clearly shows that it is politically motivated. I trust the judiciary and am hopeful that justice will prevail,” Kumar, the former JNUSU president, tweeted.
Khalid, who was arrested and sent to jail along with Kumar in the days following the incident, called it a tactic employed by the Centre to deflect public attention from its failures. “The government is trying to divert attention and change the narrative in an election year to hide their failure. We will fight the case and prove our innocence,” he said.
The JNUSU, released a statement, calling the case bogus and said it stood firmly behind the former student leaders.
“We see this submission of the chargesheet after a hiatus of three years, as a clear case of vendetta and well-planned instruction from the Prime Minister’s office to whip up a frenzy and browbeat those who have emerged as critical voices to the Prime Minister and exposed the BJP government’s utter failure in running this country just before the Lok Sabha elections due to take place this year.
JNUSU stands in solidarity with each and every student who are being accused in this bogus case (sic),” the statement read. Communist Party of India leader D. Raja, whose daughter Aparajita has also been named in the case, but not charged, said, “Nobody can accuse the AISF of doing anything against the nation. There is nothing to prove. Our students can’t indulge in such activities and the government can’t slap sedition charges on them without any evidence. We will fight the case in court.”
Anirban Bhattacharya, another student leader named in the case, released a statement saying, “Lying is an art. It’s not enough to just lie. One also has to time it well. A sense of timing, of placement, is what makes one a master liar. And of course, one also needs to stage one’s own cheerleaders who would celebrate each of one’s lies. That is the role of most of the media today under this regime.”
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram dubbed the charges against the former JNUSU president and others in the sedition case as “absurd”, while his party said it hoped that the legal process will be carried out rightfully.
Chidambaram said if it took three years for the government to make out the charge of sedition, it “exposes the motive of the government”.
“The charge of sedition against Kanhaiya Kumar and others is absurd. If it takes three years and 1,200 pages to make out a charge of sedition (based on a public speech), that alone exposes the motive of the government,” the former home minister tweeted.