NHRC notices on JNU row, Patiala House Courts attack

NHRC notices on JNU row, Patiala House Courts attack

The NHRC today issued notices to the Centre, Delhi government, Delhi Police and authorities of the Jawaharlal Nehru University over police action on the varsity campus following a row over an event against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) also issued separate notices to the Union Home Secretary, Delhi Chief Secretary, and city Police Commisioner on allegations that journalists and students were beaten up at Patiala House Courts by a BJP MLA and party supporters.

Notices in the first instance were issued after the Commission took cognizance of media reports about the event where anti-national slogans were allegedly raised, leading to the arrest of JNU Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar on sedition charges.

"However, the President of the JNU Students Union, Kanhaiya Kumar, has denied the allegations. It is also alleged that police is mindlessly patrolling the campus and students are being witch-hunted and demonized for doing nothing.

"It is widely alleged that the action of the police was illegal and high-handed and was an attempt to suppress freedom of speech and expression in academic institutions. It is also alleged that the charge of sedition was falsely added to intimidate those who dissent," said the panel while issuing notices to Union Home Secretary, Chief Secretary, Delhi government, Delhi Police Commissioner and Registrar at JNU.

The NHRC has sought their response within two weeks.

The second set of notices have been issued following receipt of a complaint that journalists and students were assaulted in police presence by a Delhi BJP MLA and party supporters disguised as lawyers within and outside the Patiala House Courts where a sedition case against Kanhaiya Kumar was to be heard.

"The complainant has requested for an independent probe and registration of FIR against the alleged perpetrators," the Commission said in a statement.

"The teachers and the students of JNU and the journalists had a right to be present in the court and its premises.  This right was denied to them by use of criminal force and physical attack unleashed on them by one MLA and some persons in lawyer's robes.

"Such violation of human rights took place in the presence of a large number of policemen. Though the police had a duty to prevent such violation of human rights and commission of criminal offences, they allegedly remained mute spectators and facilitated violation of human rights. The alleged inaction of the police on the occasion amounted to dereliction of duty and negligence," it said.

BJP MLA Op Sharma was caught on camera beating up a CPI activist outside Patiala House Court complex on Monday during the fracas. Several people wearing black robes of lawyers were also seen attacking journalists, and students and teachers of JNU.

The incident involves "serious violation" of human rights. Hence, the Home Secretary, Commissioner of Police, Delhi and Chief Secretary in Delhi government are directed to submit urgent report within a week, the Commission said.  

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