New Delhi, March 18 (IANS) A court here on Friday granted six months interim bail to JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, arrested on charges of sedition, triggering celebrations in the varsity and a warm welcome when then two reached the campus in the late evening.
Meanwhile, Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar, who had earlier been arrested on the same charges before being released on bail, said at the Indian Today conclave that Kashmir was an integral part of India and therefore Indians could discuss the issues pertaining to Kashmiris at any forum.
Granting Khalid and Bhattacharya bail, Additional Sessions Judge Reetesh Singh asked them to furnish a personal bond of Rs.25,000 with one surety of the like amount respectively, not to leave Delhi without the court’s permission and to make themselves available before the investigating officer as and when required for the purpose of the probe.
Both had sought bail on the ground of “parity”, Kanhaiya Kumar had already been granted interim bail by the Delhi High Court.
Granting six month interim bail to them on parityr, the court noted that there was no previous criminal record against them and “nothing has been brought on record which could indicate that they are likely to abscond from jurisdiction of the court”.
“Although the allegations levelled against Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya are per se serious in nature, but as claimed by police themselves, the video footage of the incident has been sent to the forensic science laboratory. Its analysis and final report will certainty take some time,” it added.
Delhi Police had opposed the bail plea saying their case was different from that of Kanhaiya Kumar as they were the organisers of a controversial event on the varsity campus on February 9 where anti-national slogans were raised. Both the students surrendered before police last month.
A case was registered against Khalid and Bhattacharya at the Vasant Kunj police station in south Delhi, soon after Kanhaiya was arrested on the same charges on February 12.
As the news reached the varsity, there were celebrations in the campus with students shouting slogans, putting gulal (colours) on each other’s face and dancing.
Khalid and Bhattacharya reached the varsity campus here late in the evening to a spirited welcome.
Hundreds of their supporters gathered near the administrative block to celebrate their release. Kanhaiya Kumar and union vice president Shehla Rashid were among those raising slogans in their favour.
Around 250 people, including students and teachers, had earlier gathered at Ganga dhaba, close to the varsity’s main gate to welcome them and then march with them in a procession towards the administration block, where an estimated 2,000 people were present in anticipation of speeches by Khalid and Bhattacharya.
JNU Teachers’ Association president Ajay Patnaik was among those present.
Meanwhile, Kanhaiya Kumar said at the India Today conclave that there “is no doubt that Kashmir is an integral part of India. And since Kashmiris are Indians, we can always discuss their issues”.
He denied supporting Kashmiri militant Afzal Guru, who was hanged for his role in the terror attack on the Indian parliament, but said he opposed capital punishment.
“Our protest (on February 9) was against capital punishment, not in support of Afzal,” he said, adding that even if an ABVP activist was given capital punishment, he would oppose it.
Asked why he did not stop people from raising anti-India slogans at the JNU campus on February 9, he said neither he or nor his All India Students Federation (AISF) supported anti-India slogans or Kashmir’s secession.
However, Bollywood actor Anupam Kher slammed the welcome to the two students.
“Only those can be considered as heroes who talk in favour of the country. How can they be hailed as heroes who talk against the country. Look how they (Khalid and Bhattacharya) are being greeted.. They haven’t won some Olympic medal… They have been granted bail today,” Kher said at in the varsity where his latest venture “Buddha in a traffic jam” was premiered.