JNU: Delhi HC asks WhatsApp, Google to provide info

Two JNU students quizzed; HC asks WhatsApp, Google to provide info

The high court also directed police to summon and question members of two anti-Left WhatsApp groups, which were in operation when the violence by "masked goons" belonging to Hindutva outfits was being unleashed in the campus, "at the earliest".

Police on Tuesday questioned two more students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in connection with the January 5 violence even as Delhi High Court asked WhatsApp and Google to preserve and provide information as per their internal policies to investigators related to the incident.

The high court also directed police to summon and question members of two anti-Left WhatsApp groups, which were in operation when the violence by "masked goons" belonging to Hindutva outfits was being unleashed in the campus, "at the earliest".

Delhi Police has earlier said that it had served summons to over 30 people who were part of the groups 'Unity Against Left' and 'Friends of RSS' in which "planning" and "information" about the attack was done.

Disposing of the plea by JNU professors Ameet Parameswaran, Atul Sood and Shukla Vinayak Sawant seeking directions to the Delhi government and police that data, CCTV footage and other evidence be preserved, the high court asked the JNU administration and State Bank of India branch inside the campus to provide CCTV footage to investigators.

Google informed the court that it can find out whether the chat histories are backed up on Google Drive if police provides them with user information, including email IDs, of the members of the WhatsApp groups.

It also assured the court that it "will protect whatever is there on our system as on date".

WhatsApp said that due to 'end-to-end encryption', the chat once delivered will no longer be stored on its server and it could be accessed only on the recipient and sender's phones.

Police said that they questioned JNU students Sucheta Talukdar and Priya Ranjan, who are affiliated with Left students' outfits, in connection with the January 5 violence.

Talukdar gave a one-and-a-half page statement to the police whom she said asked her about the incident, where she was that day, details of students injured and whether she could identify anyone else.

"I was shown my photo (one that the police had released in the press conference last week)," she said.

Separately, Jamia Millia Islamia Vice Chancellor Najma Akhtar met Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik and urged him to lodge an FIR in connection with the police action on campus last month.

Her meeting with Patnaik, who will be retiring on January 31 with Centre not extending his service, came a day after students gheraoed her office demanding that the varsity file a case against "police brutality" in the campus last month during anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests.

Police also initiated a process to clear Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch in Delhi, which was blocked for a month by people protesting against CAA.

Officials said that they would be following the policy of persuasion rather than force to clear the busy arterial road, hours after Delhi High Court directed police to look into traffic restrictions on the stretch.

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