Police were ‘professional’ in handling JNU: home ministry

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New Delhi, Feb 25 (IANS) Delhi police were professional in handling an “anti-national and anti-constitutional” event on the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus, the home ministry said on Thursday in the Rajya Sabha in response to a calling attention motion on law and order situation in the national capital.

The home ministry statement, which was tbled earlier in the upper house, was read out by Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju.

The minister also backed the police over the Patiala House courts incidents, in which students, media persons and others were roughed up, and said they could not have used force as the space was limited.

“The Delhi police was exercising restraint in the Patiala House court complex. It did not use force because there was a full possibility of stampede due to limited space in the court premises and use of tear gas would have interfered with the working of the court,” the statement said.

The home ministry backed the city police saying they handled recent incidents “professionally”.

“Recently, police acted as per law in the anti-national and anti-constitutional incidents in the Jawaharlal Nehru University,” Rijiju said as opposition members objected, saying “no” in chorus.

“A group of students in the university tried to vitiate the atmosphere but it remained limited to the university premises,” Rijiju said.

“The incidents that took place in the last few days were handled by Delhi Police in a professional manner. Therefore, I am not in agreement that law and order situation in Delhi has deteriorated,” the minister added.

The statement said Delhi Police shoulder several responsibilities, including safety of VVIPs, security of embassies, security of the Parliament Hhouse and Rashtrapati Bhavan.

“In this background, to my understanding Delhi Police is performing efficiently and patiently, and I am not only satisfied with its performance but also would like to compliment and thank the 60,000 personnel of Delhi Police. It is their toil and labour that ensures this city is peaceful,” the statement said.

“I would request every member of this house to realise that the constabulary of Delhi Police performs its duty 12 to 16 hours a day.”

Responding to questions raised by members later, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said: “Delhi Police has multi-dimensional responsibilities. Saying they are not fulfilling responsibility will be unfair. I am not claiming Delhi Police is perfect…”

“In one year, there has been no incident of communal violence in Delhi; this is also an achievement.”

Opposition members tackled Rajnath Singh by questioning him as to why JNU Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar was booked under sedition charges, but those who attacked students and journalists in Patiala House Courts complex were given bail soon after they were detained.

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said: “There was custodial beating (of Kanhaiya Kumar). On a doctored video, Kanhaiya Kumar has been charged with sedition and on a genuine video FIR was lodged and they were given bail.”

“The way MLA beat up people, the lawyers… why are they out, why not in jail for five-ten years?” Azad said, referring to a BJP legislator who was seen in a video footage attacking a man at Patiala House courts complex.

How long one should be in jail would be decided by the court, Rajnath Singh responded to Azad.

To this, the Congress leader said: “What sentence they serve depends on which article they are booked under.”

Dissatisfied with the home minister’s response, Congress members walked out of the Rajya Sabha.

The police acted against students of the JNU for allegedly raising anti-India slogans at an event organised on February 9 to commemorate the third death anniversary of Afzal Guru, the parliament attack convict who was executed in 2013.

Later on February 15, some lawyers allegedly beat up students and media persons at Patiala House courts complex where Kanhaiya Kumar was being presented before a judge.

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