Kanhaiya gets interim bail, HC terms slogans as anti-national

Kanhaiya gets interim bail, HC terms slogans as anti-national

Kanhaiya gets interim bail, HC terms slogans as anti-national
The Delhi High Court today granted interim bail for six months to JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar but said the FIR lodged in connection with an on-campus event that led to his arrest on sedition charge suggested it "is a case of raising anti-national slogans which do have the effect of threatening national integrity".

The high court, which gave conditional relief to Kanhaiya, said he will "not participate actively or passively in any activity which may be termed as anti-national" and told him that as president of JNU students union, he "will make all efforts within his power to control anti-national activities in the campus."

It also made strong remarks about the slogans allegedly raised by the students, including other accused, saying they cannot claim protection under fundamental right to speech and expression, particularly in view of the fact that the investigation into the case was at a nascent stage.

Further, Justice Pratibha Rani was critical of the slogans raised on February 9 on the JNU campus eulogising Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat, mastermind of hijacking of a passenger airline to Lahore in 1971 who was hanged in 1984.

"The feelings or the protest reflected in the slogans need introspection by the student community whose photographs are available on record holding posters, carrying photographs, of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat," the judge said while ordering Kanhaiya's release on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 10,000 and a surety of the like amount with a condition that he will not leave the country without the permission of trial court.

Making it clear to Kanhaiya that he will have to cooperate in the ongoing investigation and present himself before the investigators, as and when required, the judge also considered his family background that his mother is an Anganwadi worker earning a paltry amount of Rs 3,000 on which the entire family survives to fix the bail amount.

The judge directed that the accused's surety "should also be either a member of the faculty or a person related to him in a manner that he exercises control on him not only with respect to appearance before the court but also to ensure that his thoughts and energy are channelised in a constructive manner."

While giving monetary concession for furnishing the bond for release, the high court said Kanhaiya has to furnish an undertaking that he will not participate "actively or passively" in any activity which may be termed anti-national and the person standing surety for him shall also furnish an undertaking on the similar lines.

The Judge, who said the investigation into the case was at a nascent stage and serious allegations have been levelled against Kanhaiya, expressed serious reservations over slogans raised by the students allegedly hailing Guru and Bhat as martyrs.

"It has to be kept in mind by all concerned that they are enjoying this freedom only because our borders are guarded by our armed and paramilitary forces. Our forces are protecting our frontiers in the most difficult terrain in the world i.e. Siachen Glacier or Rann of Kutch."

"It is a case of raising anti-national slogans which do have the effect of threatening national integrity," the bench said.

"Suffice it to note that such persons enjoy the freedom to raise such slogans in the comfort of University Campus but without realising that they are in this safe environment because our forces are there at the battle field situated at the highest altitude of the world where even the oxygen is so scarce that those who are shouting anti-national slogans holding posters of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat close to their chest honoring their martyrdom, may not be able to withstand those conditions for even an hour.

"The kind of slogans raised may have demoralizing effect on the family of those martyrs who returned home in coffin draped in tricolor," the judge said in the 23-page order.
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