HC asks Umar Khalid, Anirban where they want to surrender

New Delhi, Feb 23 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Tuesday, while agreeing to hear a plea filed by JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya seeking security before they surrender to court, asked them to “secretly” provide the place and time where they want to surrender.

Justice Pratibha Rani refused to provide safety to the students till they surrender, and declined to allow them to surrender in the high court.

On providing safety in police custody, the court said: “It is for the trial court to decide.”

After advocate Kamini Jaiswal, appearing for the students, told the court that students need safe passage to surrender, Justice Rani retorted: “What do you mean I should give you safe passage? Why this court (not trial court)? Let us go by the procedure. Everything can’t be at your whi ms and fancies.”

“Tell me where you want to surrender. Just give me the place (other than the high court) and time (details of which will be between petitioners’ advocate, and court),” said the court, adding that she will appoint an officer for their surrender.

Lawyers of Khalid and Bhattacharya provided the details to Justice Rani, and the court then asked the deputy commissioner of police, present there, about his views, but he objected to it. Thereafter, she called the police officer and petitioners’ counsel to her chamber.

After around 15 minutes hearing inside her chamber, Justice Rani came out and said she will hear the case on Wednesday.

Seeking safety passage to surrender, Jaiswal told the court that the students are constantly receiving “life threats” and police doing nothing to protect them.

“Allow the petitioners to surrender before the high court and take them to judicial custody at this court,” the plea said, adding: “Direct police to ensure the petitioners’ safe passage from the JNU till the precincts of this court.”

Jaiswal also mentioned the violent incident took place during the remand proceedings of Kanhaiya Kumar, where lawyers attacked him, JNU student and teachers and journalists.

The Supreme Court had asked Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi to personally look into the safety issue in the case but despite the court’s order, Kanhaiya was at tacked, Jaiswal told the court.

In their plea, the students said they are “law abiding citizens” and a “doctored video were shown on some channels to portray them in the worst possible light”.

Khalid and Anirban, along with three others, had gone missing from the JNU campus since February 12 when Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested in a sedition case after an event held at February 9 on the university campus against hanging of parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. They all had allegedly shouting anti-India slogans during the rally.

The five surfaced in the JNU campus late Sunday night.

Meanwhile, a different bench dismissed a plea filed by a lawyer seeking direction to Delhi Police to enter JNU campus and arrest Umar Khalid and other students, who allegedly raised anti-national slogans.

Justice Manmohan asked the petitioner to file a fresh petition.

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