P Chidambaram Says Sedition Charges Against Kanhaiya Kumar and Others Absurd
"The people have lost faith in this government and the processes adopted by it," he added.
New Delhi: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram Monday dubbed the charges against former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar and others in the JNU sedition case as “absurd” while his party said it hoped that the legal process will be carried out rightfully.
Earlier in the day, the Delhi Police filed its charge sheet against Kumar and nine others in the case before Metropolitan Magistrate Sumit Anand.
It charged Kumar, former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya and seven others for allegedly shouting anti-India slogans during an event on the university campus on February 9, 2016 to commemorate the hanging of Parliament-attack mastermind Afzal Guru.
Chidambaram said if it took three years for the government to make out the charge of sedition, it “exposes the motive of the government”.
He also demanded a debate on whether a provision like Section 124A (sedition) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) has a place in the laws of a democratic republic.
“The charge of sedition against Kanhaiya Kumar and others is absurd. If it takes three years and 1,200 pages to make out a charge of sedition (based on a public speech), that alone exposes the motive of the government,” the former home minister said in a series of tweets.
“How many in the investigating team have read and understood section 124A of the IPC and the case law on the Section. There must be a serious debate if a provision like section 124A has a place in the laws of a democratic republic,” Chidambaram said.
The said event had taken place despite the university administration cancelling the permission, following a complaint from the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), which had termed it as “anti-national”.
A case was registered on February 11, 2016 following complaints from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Maheish Girri and the ABVP.
“We are confident that no tinkering will be allowed to be done with the evidence, as there is news about the video being doctored. We hope that the legal process will carry on rightfully and there will be no tinkering,” Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said.
“The people have lost faith in this government and the processes adopted by it,” he added.
The accused have been charged with offences under various sections of the IPC, including 143 (punishment for being a member of an unlawful assembly) and 120B (criminal conspiracy), besides 124A.
The charge sheet also contains CCTV footage, mobile footage and documentary evidence.
Judge Anand put it up for consideration before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate on Tuesday.