New Delhi: Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Wednesday accused the Centre of misusing the sedition charges and termed it a “colonial law”.
Speaking to ANI, Sibal said, “There is no need for a sedition law in today’s times, it is a colonial law. Many who merely speak or tweet against the government have sedition charges imposed against them; it is being misused by the Centre just to keep citizens in check.”
The reaction from the Congress leader came two days after Delhi Police slapped charges of sedition, rioting, and criminal conspiracy on former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar and nine others in a three-year-old incident which rocked the campus of India’s premier seat of learning on the evening of February 9, 2016.
The JNUSU termed the charge sheeting of Kumar and nine others in the sedition case as “a clear case of vendetta” allegedly carried out at the “well-planned instruction from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).”
Delhi Police charge sheet, running into 1,200-page and filed at the Patiala House Court on Monday, contains serious charges against Kumar and the others under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) including Section 124A (sedition), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 465 (forgery), 471 (using as genuine, forged document), 143 (punishment for unlawful assembly), 149 (unlawful assembly with common object), 147(rioting), and 120B (criminal conspiracy).
Delhi Police are said to have recorded the statement of more than 90 witnesses in the case. Sources said column number 12 of the charge sheet names 36 people as accused including CPI leader D Raja’s daughter Aparajita Raja and former JNUSU vice president Shehla Rashid.
On February 9, 2016, “anti-national” slogans were allegedly raised on the JNU campus during a programme organised to protest against the death sentence handed out to Afzal Guru, a convict in the Parliament attack case, which led to a massive row when the members of ABVP, the student wing of RSS, objected to the programme.
The charge sheet names 10 students, who were enrolled into different courses of the JNU at that point of time, as main accused including Kanahiya Kumar, Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya, and seven Kashmiri students-Aquib Hussain, Mujeeb Hussain, Muneeb Hussain, Umar Gul, Rayeea Rasool, and Bashir Bhat.
According to information, the Delhi Police have used the video-footage and other documents to support their points in the charge sheet, which has been filed almost after three years the incident.