Arrested students fail to name 'outsiders' in video

Jawaharlal Nehru University students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, now in police custody, have failed to identify ‘outsiders’ present at the ‘anti-national event’ organised in the campus on February 9. 

During questioning, Khalid and Bhattacharya denied that they planned the event to mark Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru’s hanging. They also claim that they were in the campus for many days when police were searching for them in other states.

On Thursday, a team of 10 officers, including two ACPs and three inspectors, continued to question Khalid and Bhattacharya separately. So far, Khalid has been cooperating with the team, but Bhattacharya remains silent on most of the questions.

Police are also video recording the questioning. They have told the court that JNU Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar and Khalid organised the event, while Bhattacharya prepared the posters.

Another JNU student, Riyaz, publicised the event on social media, while a person named Banjyotsna Lahiri is suspected to be a coorganiser of the event, according to police.

Khalid and Bhattacharya have been shown video footage of the event and told to identify the ‘foreign elements’ who covered their faces to hide identity. The investigators have photographs of eight persons who are suspected to be outsiders and allegedly involved in anti-national slogans.

The two students failed to identify the outsiders and told police that some of them might be from other universities in the capital.

Currently, police are waiting for the production warrant of Kumar, who is in judicial custody. The investigating team now wants to question the three students together.

The controversial event had marked the death anniversary of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. Khalid has accepted that he raised slogans hailing Guru, but maintains that the slogans were not ‘anti-national’.

Khalid and Bhattacharya have also been asked about their whereabouts between February 12 and February 21.

Khalid told police that he went underground, but was present on the campus and nearby areas of south Delhi. He spent the initial few days after Kumar’s arrest inside the campus and later took shelter at rented houses of his friends in Katwaria Sarai, Munirka and Ber Sarai.

Police are also trying to identify people who facilitated Khalid and Bhattacharya to evade arrest. 

The two are being questioned in one of the inspector’s rooms on the ground floor of R K Puram police station.

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