Kanhaiya Kumar & Sedition
The Delhi government has given a go-ahead to the city police to prosecute former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar and nine others in connection with a four-year-old sedition case, as the ruling AAP denied the persistent BJP charge of blocking the proceedings in the matter.

AAP MLA and spokesperson Raghav Chadha said the Law Department of the Delhi government has given its opinion on this matter to the Home Department after due diligence. The sanction was granted by the Delhi government on 20 February, he said.

On 14 January, the police had filed a charge sheet against Kanhaiya and others, including former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya. The police had said they were leading a procession and had supported the seditious slogans allegedly raised on the campus during an event on 9 February, 2016.

Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari welcomed the development, but said the Kejriwal government perhaps gave the approval in view of the "current political situation". The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been alleging the AAP government was stonewalling the proceedings in the case by not granting its approval to prosecute Kanhaiya and others.

However, Chadha said in a statement on Friday, "The Delhi government, as a matter of policy and as a matter of principle, does not and has not intervened in any of such cases.

"It is not for governments to decide on the merits of such cases", he added. He further said that the Delhi government has not stopped prosecution in any case, including those pertaining to its own MLAs and party leaders.

Reacting to the development, Kanhaiya tweeted, "Fast-track court and quick action is required in the sedition case so that the country gets to know how the sedition law was misused in this entire case for political benefits".
Umar Khalid also tweeted his and Anirban Bhattacharya's joint statement.

"The news of Delhi government granting sanction to sedition case against us doesn't trouble us at all. We are confident of our innocence, have full faith in the judiciary and have oversalves been demanding the case against us to be tried in the courts".

In the charge sheet filed in a court in January, the Delhi Police had said that Kanhaiya, Khalid and Bhattacharya led a procession and raised anti-national slogans at an event in the university campus on 9 February, 2016.

The police said there was video footage wherein Kanhaiya is "seen" leading the students who were raising "anti-national slogans" and that he had been identified by the witnesses in the videos.
A Readers, New Delhi

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Vol. 52, No. 39, Mar 29 - April 4, 2020