Kanhaiya gets 6-month bail and some sermons

FPJ BureauUpdated: Friday, May 31, 2019, 05:35 PM IST
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Indian students and activists shout slogans and protest against the arrest of an Indian student for sedition in New Delhi on March 2, 2016. An Indian court has granted bail to a student leader who was arrested on a controversial sedition charge last month, sparking major protests and a nationwide debate over free speech. Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested on February 12 over a rally at Delhi's prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) where anti-India slogans were chanted. He has been in judicial custody in the capital's Tihar jail since February 17. AFP PHOTO / SAJJAD HUSSAIN |

Unusual order prefaced with lyrics from film Upkar, judge likens offence to an infection in the limb, asks him to ‘control anti-national activities on JNU campus’

... If the infection inflicts the limb to the extent that it becomes gangrene then amputation is the only treatment ...

New Delhi: JNU Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar, whose arrest on sedition charges became a raging national debate, has been granted interim bail for a period of six months by the Delhi High Court. Even as Justice Pratibha Rani granted his bail plea on a personal bond of Rs 10,000, and directed Kanhaiya to

cooperate in the investigation, the court likened the alleged offence to an “infection in a limb”. “Sometimes students who misinterpret freedom of speech need to be cured. Whenever some infection spreads in a limb, effort is made to cure it by giving antibiotics orally… if the infection inflicts the limb to the extent that it becomes gangrene then amputation is the only treatment… To enable him to remain in the mainstream, at present, I am inclined to opt for the conservative method of treatment,” said Justice Pratibha Rani.

She also asked him to guarantee that he will not participate in any “anti-national activity” and that he will appear whenever required for investigations. ‘‘And as head of the JNUSU, “he will make all efforts within his power to control anti-national activities on the campus”, she added.

The court added that a JNU faculty member would have to become a guarantor for the PhD student. Prefacing her order with the lyrics of a patriotic song from the 1967 Hindi film Upkar, the judge said: “Such persons enjoy freedom to raise slogans in comfort of university campus… without realising that they are in safe environment because our forces are there on the battlefield. This patriotic song from Upkaar by lyricist Indeevar symbolises individual characteristics representing different colours and love for motherland.”

Students in NYC express solidarity with JNU students

The bail order came even as a forensic report revealed that two videos of the Afzal Guru event that were used as evidence of seditious conduct were doctored and words seen to incite violence were inserted in them.

Kanhaiya’s arrest under sedition had created international ripples with academia across the globe criticizing the Modi government for muzzling dissent and free speech. It had also brought diverse opposition parties like the Congress and the CPM together on the same platform. The issue found an echo in the speeches of several members during the course of the debate in the Lok Sabha on the motion of thanks for the President’s address.

After the hearing of arguments on Monday, the court had reserved its order. The Delhi Police had vehemently opposed the bail plea whereas defence lawyers and Delhi government’s standing counsel, Rahul Mehra, supported Kumar.

The JNUSU chief’s lawyer, Kapil Sibal, had argued that the police acted hastily, based on an allegedly doctored video clip run by Zee News. Since then, alternate videos showing Kumar chanting slogans against casteism and poverty have emerged, it was pointed out. Input on judge’s observations from NDTV.com

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