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After delaying for more than a year, AAP government gives permission for prosecuting Kanhaiya Kumar and two others in JNU sedition case

Kanhaiya Kumar thanked Delhi govt for approval of his prosecution in the case, saying it will expose the misuse of sedition law

The AAP led Delhi government on Friday finally gave nod to prosecute former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar and others in a sedition case, in which the Delhi police special Cell had submitted 1200-page charge-sheet on January 14 last year. The application had been pending since then with the Delhi government.

The JNU sedition case had seen no proceeding so far due to the Arvind Kejriwal government’s refusal to give nod for prosecution. Accused in the case are Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya and several others.

Finally, permission was given after Delhi Police wrote to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s government last week requesting it to expedite the process. That letter was sent hours after a court directed cops to send a reminder to the ruling AAP.

Kanhaiya Kumar welcomed the Delhi govt’s decision for approval for prosecution against him, saying that a speedy trial in the case is required so that the country can know how the sedition law is misused for political benefits and divert attention of people from basic issues. He thanked the Delhi govt for the decision, and urged the Delhi police and government lawyers to take the case seriously, wished that a speedy trial in the case is conducted in a fast-track court, so justice is ensured in a court of law instead of courts of TV channels.

While Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari welcomed the decision, he took a subtle jibe at Arvind Kejriwal over the delay in decision making. “Probably keeping the current political situation in mind, Chief Minister Kejriwal has finally given sanction prosecute Kanhaiya Kumar. We welcome the decision. We have been demanding (this)… let the law take its own course,” Tiwari said.

A case was registered against Kumar and the others under sections 124-A and 120B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at the Vasant Kunj police station in 2016. A charge sheet was filed in connection with the case on January 14, 2019.

On February 6th 2019, the Patiala House Court had asked Delhi police to speed up the proceedings by obtaining Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi Government’s sanction for prosecution. It had also added that state government cannot delay the case by withholding nod for prosecution.

But it was revealed before the court that the Delhi government did not respond to the charge sheet after receiving it. According to Delhi police, first request to sanction prosecution was sent in 2016, and another request was sent in January 2019, without any results.

In cases like JNU sedition row, Police has to solicit a sanction to prosecute from Delhi state’s law ministry. Then the file has to go to Lt. General. The court cannot take cognisance of charge sheet without state government’s nod.

In February 2016, the students of JNU had organized an event to mark the anniversary of terrorist Afzal Guru who had attacked the Indian Parliament. Many slogans challenging the Indian State’s sovereignty and calling for its balkanization were raised. At the event, slogans like ‘Bharat Tere Tukde Honge’ and Afzal hum sharminda hain, tere katil jinda hain’ were captured in news reports.

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