How can Delhi Police use doctored videos for another crackdown on JNU?

The central police force is producing an unedited disc to indict PhD students Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya.

 |  3-minute read |   12-06-2016
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The NDA government is at it again. After arresting students on the basis of doctored videos, and slapping cases against JNUSU student leaders on extreme charges like sedition, the Delhi Police has awoken four and a half months later to produce an unedited disc with more footage to indict Kanhaiya Kumar, JNUSU President, and activists Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya.

This is after a magisterial inquiry by the Delhi government found two of the telecast videos to be doctored, and this matter is in court. It is intriguing that an unedited disc of the February 9 protests was lying with the Zee News for some time with its allegedly damning footage not used for months. An oversight? Hardly.

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How can Delhi Police turn a blind eye to videos which have distorted the truth openly?

Zee TV started the attack on JNU from the beginning. Why would they overlook more evidence to assault JNU with? An interesting coincidence that the owner of that channel Subhash Chandra became a BJP Rajya Sabha MP yesterday.

Interestingly, a Zee News producer, Vishwa Deepak, had resigned from the channel in late February 2016, and had said in a letter that the channel had broadcast a video of students raising slogans with captions that said "Pakistan Zindabad".

Vishwa Deepak stated, "The video which had no "Pakistan Zindabad" slogans in it, we played repeatedly to spread madness. How did we establish that Kanhaiya and his associates were chanting slogans when all we heard were voices coming from the darkness.

Our biases made us hear "Bhartiya Court Zindabad" as "Pakistan Zindabad" (The Indian Express, June 12). Has the Delhi Police interviewed the the Zee News producer, who in line with journalistic ethics has pointed out that the video was doctored, obviously on political considerations.

Has any prima facie charge been registered on the politically motivated doctoring of the Zee News video which launched this defamatory campaign? How can the Delhi Police turn a blind eye to videos which have distorted the truth openly?

Since this statement is in line with the Delhi government magisterial inquiry, action should have been taken in accordance with the law. Or is there one law for Zee News, and another for JNU students?

In The Indian Express today unnamed police officers are said to be stating the sedition law, Section 124A, IPC, would now apply.

Another lie.

Two Supreme Court judgements, including Kedar Nath versus State of Bihar, AIR 1962 SC 995, has clearly stated that criticism of political matters is not of itself sedition. This was amplified in a later decision of the Supreme Court on the charge of sedition on the issue of an accused shouting the slogan "Khalistan Zindabad".

The Supreme Court bench ruled that this slogan which explicitly supported the break up of India, was not seditious, as slogans alone would not amount to sedition.

However, the already announced second phase of attack begs another question.

Why is India's third highest ranked university (highest ranked among the social sciences and humanities) under repeated attack?

The RSS-affiliated ABVP leader Saurabh Sharma is the Joint Secretary of the JNUSU. It is not as if the student community has not accepted different political positions.

The Left students, comprising a number of political streams co-exist with others. Can there be a more democratic space? Is this part of a comprehensive attack on higher education as announced by the sweeping UGC diktat ruling that teachers teach more hours than any good university could imagine, etc?

Or is it a renewal of the attack on political views that the RSS/BJP cannot stomach. The historical irony is that Gandhi called this 1870 law "the prince of all laws".

Under this law which makes it a crime "To excite disaffection against the King..." Gandhi accepted that he could not be innocent. JNU students (and teachers?) are proposed to be jailed on the basis by this law by the Delhi Police (based on The Indian Express, June 12) on the instructions of the Union government.

Writer

Kamal Mitra Chenoy Kamal Mitra Chenoy @kamaichenoy

The writer is an academic and activist.

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