Police drag feet, lawyer roams free

Delhi Police lost very little time in slapping sedition charges and arresting JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar after a controversial meeting on the varsity campus.

But the lawyer with Bharatiya Janata Party link roams free in the capital despite thrashing journalists and students in court around the time the student was being produced before the magistrate.

This after the lawyer dares to lead a protest march near the police station where a case has been filed against him.

Delhi Police Commissioner Bhim Sain Bassi and his senior officers have so far failed to provide a satisfactory reply to questions on why lawyer Vikram Chauhan has not been arrested. He has defied two police summons, while Kumar is in judicial custody.

Police went a step further by asking a relative of Kumar to join the probe after sending a team to his house in Uttar Pradesh’s Bijnor district. However, no such effort has been made to nab Chauhan.

Due to such double standards, the Central government and police have been facing protests by journalists along with students and staff of Jawaharlal Nehru University.
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) slamming police for failing to ensure security in the court.

According to NHRC, police have also been mindlessly patrolling the JNU campus and students are being witch-hunted and demonised for doing nothing.

“It is surprising that Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested after a raid was conducted in the university campus. On the other hand, there is clear evidence against lawyer Vikram Chauhan. It is difficult to understand why police have chosen to ignore Chauhan’s acts,”  NHRC spokesperson Jaimini Kumar tells Deccan Herald.

After going through the evidence in Kumar’s case, lawyer Prashant Bhushan feels that police acted too soon and without strong evidence. Kumar has denied the allegations stating that he went to the spot only to intervene in a clash between two groups.

“I feel he has been falsely implicated. Police do not have any eyewitness from JNU who claims to have seen Kumar shouting anti-national slogans,” Bhushan told media.

After two incidents of violence in Patiala House Courts Complex, Bhushan also says that lawyers must refrain from taking law into their own hands. “Waving a national flag and chanting Vande Mataram does not make people nationalist or give them the licence to beat up people who are saying otherwise,” Bhushan adds.

Citing earlier judgements, some lawyers also argue that what Kumar said was not anti-national or seditious in nature. “Just because it does not fall in line with someone’s thinking does not mean it is seditious,” lawyer Rakesh Kaim tells
Deccan Herald.


IPS officer Kiran Bedi also says that the rule of law demands that Kumar is given a fair trial in an atmosphere free from fear.

“Kumar has so far denied that he raised anti-national slogans, so a chance must be given to him to prove himself in the court,” says Bedi, adding that police must ensure enough security in the court. Bedi has also faced trouble from lawyers when she was serving with Delhi Police. In 1988, lawyers at Tis Hazari Courts had turned violent after police arrested a lawyer.

She demands strict action against Chauhan. So far, Chauhan seems to have evaded arrest, allegedly due to his political affiliation.

On Facebook, Chauhan has posted photographs with top BJP leaders. The cover photo on his Facebook page shows Chauhan posing with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, the profile photo is with party veteran L K Advani. Chauhan describes himself as a lawyer and also a “worker of BJP”.

Police say Chauhan did not appear before the investigating team citing prior commitments. But he was seen at a function in Kakardooma Court, where he was felicitated by other lawyers.

Despite the criticism, Bassi only says that strict action will be taken against those who defy police summons. “He was summoned on February 16 and he did not appear on February 17 so he was again summoned on February 17 to appear on February 18. If he continues to ignore the summons, I will examine my legal options
and take action,” Bassi told media.

Kumar’s arrest and the political controversy has also hit Bassi hard. Days after it was being speculated that Bassi may be included on the Central Information Commission after he retires on February 29, it became clear on Friday that he has been ignored.

Congress and Communist Party of India (Marxist), which have been most vocal in criticising the Central government and police over Kumar's arrest, have demanded Bassi’s resignation. Party leaders have sought Kumar's release and punishment to those who they said fabricated ‘evidence’ leading to his arrest.

There are allegations that Kumar's video was tampered and actual video showed no anti-national slogans being raised. Delhi’s Aam Aadmi Party-led government has now intervened, sending five video clips for tests and the report is expected on Monday.
Kumar’s supporters say that the video doing the rounds is doctored.

“It seems somebody took the audio from the February 9 video and put it on the video that was shot two days later on February 11,” says Mahesh Jain, Kumar’s friend associated with All India Students Federation (AISF). He claims Kumar was in the crowd on February 9, but raised slogans only on February 11, that too only against the BJP and the RSS.

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