New Delhi, Feb 17 (IANS) JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar, arrested for sedition, was on Wednesday sent to judicial custody till March 2 while the Supreme Court made Delhi Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi personally responsible for his safety after being told that he was “badly beaten up” while being brought to court premises.
Several journalists were again beaten up by a section of lawyers at the Patiala House Court – much like what happened on Monday – before Kanhaiya Kumar was brought there.
With another day of scuffles at the Patiala House court, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the law and order situation in the national capital was “fast deteriorating” and the Communist Party of India-Marxist demanded Bassi’s removal following the “assault” on Kanhaiya Kumar. Bassi, however, maintained that the JNU student was not beaten up.
As the controversy over JNU protests escalated, Communications and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the country was eager to hear “eloquent, powerful and constructive alternative voice” from the university.
Metropolitan Magistrate Lovleen sent Kanhaiya Kumar to judicial custody after Delhi Police said it did not need the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) president any more for interrogation.
The court directed Delhi Police, who will escort him to the jail from the court, and the superintendent of the Tihar jail to ensure his safety.
Kanhaiya Kumar told the court that he was attacked by a group of people wearing black robes while he was being escorted by police to the court room. The leftist All India Students Federation (AISF) leader was arrested on February 12 on after anti-India slogans were raised at an event held at the JNU campus on February 9 to commemorate the execution of parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
Kanhaiya Kumar, in a statement leaked to the media, appealed to students to maintain calm and said he does not support anti-national activity.
He condemned the February 9 event at the JNU and said those who shouted the allegedly anti-national slogans included “some people from JNU and a section of outsiders”.
Ten student organisations owing allegiance to different political parties on Wednesday pledged support to him while Amnesty International sought his immediate release.
Meanwhile, with the scuffle at the court and the assault on him reached the apex court where a bench of Justice J.Chelameswar and Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre said it will be the Delhi Police chief’s personal responsibility to ensure his safety as well as those attending the court proceedings.
The court adjourned the hearing till 2 p.m. so that a team of lawyers, comprising Kapil Sibal, Rajeev Dhawan, Dushyant Dave, Ajit Sinha, A.G.N. Rao and Harin Rawal, and could and assess the situation in the Patiala House court complex.
The team said they witnessed an “unprecedented” situation with an atmosphere of “fear and terrorising people” and Dhawan told the court that the “collective view of the team is that police did not do their job”.
He told the court they were not only abused in the filthiest language but were described as Pakistani agents.
The court gave Delhi Police till Friday morning to submit its report and directed the next hearing of the matter on Monday.
Earlier, several journalists were beaten up by a section of lawyers at the Patiala House Court. Among the journalists who were assaulted were a Firstpost photographer and reporter each as well as a journalist from Network 18.
Two groups of lawyers — one opposed to Kanhaiya Kumar and another supporting his legal rights — earlier got into a scuffle in the court in the heart of the capital.
The lawyers who attacked the journalists were noisily protesting against JNU students who allegedly raised anti-India slogans a week ago.
The journalists alleged that police personnel present in the court refused to come to their help.
On Monday, many journalists including an IANS reporter, were beaten up by the same group of lawyers in the court.
Bassi however told reporters that Kanhaiya Kumar was not beaten up during his appearance in Patiala House court complex here but was only jostled around.
He said police have issued summons to three people, including Vikram Singh Chauhan, one of the lawyers captured on video in the court violence on Monday. BJP legislator O.P. Sharma, who had been filmed attacking a CPI activist, had also been summoned.