NEW DELHI: The role of the Delhi police in the attack on journalists, students and members of faculty from the Jawaharlal Nehru University earlier this month has come under scrutiny after a video accessed by television channels showed jailed JNU students’ union leader Kanhaiya Kumar telling a team of lawyers from the Supreme Court that cops did nothing to protect him from a group of lawyers who assaulted him the moment he arrived at the Patiala House Court for his hearing in a sedition case.
Kumar said he repeatedly told Delhi police personnel present at the spot that he could identify the men in black coats who rained blows on him as he entered the court premises. They kicked him in the stomach and punched him. The cops who formed a protective circle around him were also attacked. While going through a gate that had a metal detector, Kumar said his pants came off in the scuffle. He was bruised and disoriented by the onslaught.
“As soon as I arrived, I was surrounded by journalists. The moment the cops took me inside, a mob of men dressed like lawyers surrounded me. They seemed prepared. They started punching me and called out to others that I had arrived at the court. One man chased me to a room inside the courthouse and sat behind me. I told my teacher that this is the man who thrashed me. When the police asked that person for his identity he countered by asking the policeman to show his identity card,” Kumar said.
“I told the police that this man had assaulted me, but they did nothing,” Kumar said. He is seen tearing up in the video as the lawyers gently urged him to continue.
“I was told that this person was removed from the courtroom on the direction of the High Court authorities. He didn’t pay heed to what the police said. This person left the court in front of the police and police didn’t take any action,” he added.
“I was not able to see as to what the other policemen were doing, because I was knocked down and was beaten,” he said.
Kanhaiya’s lawyer, Vrindra Grover, can also be seen in the video.
“When we were entering there was lot of sloganeering, we felt anxious and there was fear in us. I told police and the registrar general to ensure the safety of Kanhaiya as there was a hostile environment. Our phones were taken away, our identity cards were checked,” Grover was quoted as saying.
“The man, who attacked Kanhaiya, came in the court and left the court. I repeatedly made appeals to police to put security for Kanhaiya, but they didn’t do that. They kept nodding and didn’t provide security. The seniormost police personnel allow him to go and later they come and tell us that they don’t know who that person was,” she added.
In the video, lawyer Kapil Sibal is heard asking Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi District) Jatin Narwal as to why police didn’t arrest the person Kanhaiya identified.
“When they came to you and told that this person was beating Kanhaiya, why didn’t you arrest him? How did you let the attack take place in the court premises? The person who didn’t even wear a black coat, how could you allow him to enter the courtroom? When Kanhaiya pointed out that person why didn’t you arrest that person?” Sibal asked.
“I immediately rushed as I didn’t know; this was the person who had attacked Kanhaiya,” DCP Narwal said.
Kumar said the persons attacking him were “highly politically motivated”.
“I am the youth of this country. I study in JNU,” he said, his voice breaking.
Kumar is among six students from JNU charged with sedition for attending a meeting on campus called to protest the hanging of terrorist Afzal Guru. NDTV reported that his security has been increased at Delhi’s Tihar Jail where he is lodged. His bail plea will come up for hearing in the High Court on 29 February. —
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