Police asked me to prove patriotism, says Umar Khalid

New Delhi, March 19 (IANS) JNU student Umar Khalid, who was released on interim bail on Friday after being arrested for sedition, said it was a big victory for them and said that he was asked to prove his patriotism by police during its questioning.

Addressing a gathering of cheering supporters at the campus after his return, Khalid attacked the questions put to him by police during his custody and also accused sections of media of not acting independently.

“I don’t think media was acting independently,” Khalid said, alleging that there were instructions to sections of media.

He said that normally police conducts the investigation and briefs the media but in their case the media was conducting the trial and “investigation was taking place on the basis of information given to police (by the media)”.

“Questions (by police) were framed in a way (as to ask me) to prove my patriotism,” he said.

Referring to police questioning of Anirban Bhattacharya, who was also released on interim bail on Friday, Khalid said: “If I was a traitor by virtue of birth, not only was he to his nation, but to his religion and to his caste.”

Khalid said getting bail was a big victory for them, noting freedom fighters of the country had also been booked under sedition charges.

“Arundhati Roy, Binayak Sen were also booked under sedition.. We have joined their league,” he said.

Earlier, the gathering erupted with joy and applause as Khalid and Bhattacharya reached the administrative block to address them.

Khalid said people were “made to fight each others on the name of patriotism.”

His younger sister Sara, who also addressed the gathering, said she was happy over release of Umar and Anirban.

“The fight shall go on till everyone is served justice,” she said.

JNUTA president Ajay Patnaik were among those present.

Both Khalid and Bhattacharya were arrested last month on charges of sedition after they had surrendered to police.

Both had sought bail on the ground of “parity “, saying that Kanhaiya Kumar, who was also arrested on the same charge, was already granted interim bail by the Delhi High Court.

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.

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