By Abhimanyu Singh for Youth Ki Awaaz:
It was open season for violence at the Patiala House Court premises on 17th Feb, the second time Kanhaiya Kumar was being presented in court, regardless of the events that transpired barely a day ago at the same venue, putting the role of the police under spotlight.
Kanhaiya Kumar, JNUSU president was produced in Court number four. He was represented by eminent lawyer Vrinda Grover, among others. However, even before he made an appearance in the court, he was roughed up by a group of lawyers. Shahab Ahmad, a lawyer who was present inside when the incident occurred, told me that the police simply stood by and did nothing to save him from being assaulted. Shahab added that the lawyers started to chant slogans against a Muslim accused being presented in another case, as well.
A reporter from Firstpost was also roughed up when he tried to click pictures of the lawyers indulging in violence – they fought with some of their own colleagues too, who were opposed to their actions – and the police reportedly stood by in his case also.
At least a couple of AISF activists were also roughed up by the same gang of lawyers, allegedly led by an advocate called Vikram Chauhan who was present on Monday as well when journalists and JNU students and faculty members were roughed up. The AISF activists had come from Sonepat in support of Kumar who also hails from the same organisation. “I was beaten up by the advocates who alleged that I was a Pakistan supporter. I begged with folded hands and asked them, please tell me my fault but they just kept beating me up,” said Pramod, one of the activists who was beaten up. He added that the police kept watching and did not help him.
It is learnt that the matter of Kanhaiya’s security was discussed in the Court. Along with that, the police informed the Court that they had electronic evidence against Kanhaiya. The defence team has sought a copy of the said evidence. But the latest news coming in, as reported by The Hindu is that they might have to drop the sedition charges due to lack of evidence.
Kanhaiya also identified one of the lawyers who had assaulted him.
Profiling of JNU students continued at the Court premises and I was also asked by a couple of television reporters if I was from the university. TV channels have come under heavy criticism lately for running a vicious campaign against JNU.
I also spoke to a faculty member from JNU who was present outside the Court premises. He told me that the recent events showed that fascism had arrived in the country as anyone could be branded anti-national and thrashed. He added that by allowing the police to enter the campus and raid hostels, the Vice-Chancellor had made his role suspect in the eyes of JNU’s academic community.
The Court has sent Kanhaiya to judicial custody for two weeks, till March 2. Till four in the evening, he remained at the Court premises, getting medical treatment. As reported by The Indian Express, he was then taken to Tihar Jail, even as some lawyers waited at two court gates to attack him, to prevent which, Kanhaiya was dressed up in riot gear.