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JNU row: Delhi police chief Bassi may end up major loser


By Ashish Mishra

The arrest of JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar on sedition charges and the resultant political fireworks appear to have hit hard one man: the outgoing Delhi Police chief Bhim Sain Bassi.

Days after it was being speculated that Bassi, 59, may get a senior post in the Central Information Commission after he retires on February 29, it became clear on Friday that he had been ignored.

Bassi implied it as much.

“It doesn’t matter to me,” Bassi told the media when he was asked about reports that the government had axed his name from the list of candidates for a post of Information Commissioner.

Also, a day after Bassi insisted that Kanhaiya Kumar was not attacked at the Patiala House Court here, a medical report made public on Friday revealed that the student leader had suffered multiple injuries.

“There are multiple abrasions on Kumar’s nose and thighs. There is a tenderness on the right toe,” said a report released by Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, adding there were also several external injury marks.

The Congress on Thursday came out against the inclusion of Bassi for the post of Information Commissioner after his retirement.

In fact, both the Congress and the CPI-M, which have been most vocal in criticizing the government over Kanhaiya Kumar’s arrest, have demanded the ouster of Bassi as the Delhi Police chief.

On Friday, six Left parties sought Kanhaiya Kumar’s release and punishment to those who they said fabricated “evidence” leading to his arrest.

“The truth has now come out that most of the evidence produced by the government was fabricated,” they said. “Those who have fabricated the evidence and propagated it must be punished under the law.”

An Indian Police Service officer of the 1977 batch, Bassi began his career as Assistant Superintendent of Police at Pondicherry.

He has also served in Arunachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and Goa. He was appointed Delhi Police Commissioner in August 2013 when the Congress-led UPA government was in power nationally.

Bassi has been having regular run-ins with Delhi’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government over law and order issues. Delhi Police does not report to the Delhi government, but to the central home ministry.

AAP leaders, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, have often accused him of being an “agent” of the BJP-led central government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Bassi has denied the charge.

The Kanhaiya Kumar episode seems to have tripped him.

Delhi Police cracked down on the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) after “anti-national” slogans were allegedly raised at a meeting on Kashmir held in the campus on February 9.

The JNU Students Union led by Kanhaiya Kumar, who is from the CPI-affiliated All India Students Federation, did not organize the meeting and he has repeatedly denied shouting subversive slogans.

Bassi claimed his men had evidence to prove Kanhaiya committed seditious acts. But fresh video evidence seems to show that this was not true and that the tape which led to Kanhaiya Kumar’s arrest may have been doctored.

And on Monday, when the Kanhaiya Kumar case was heard in the Patiala House Court here, a section of lawyers attacked JNU students and journalists. The lawyers later boasted that they were proud of their aggression.

A BJP legislator in Delhi, O.P. Sharma, was filmed chasing and beating up a CPI activist on the street outside the court.

Bassi had to face charges that while he used video clips and media reports to act against Kanhaiya Kumar, he was coy vis-a-vis the violent lawyers and BJP’s Sharma despite photographic evidence. Later, Sharma was held and let off after questioning. (IANS)

  • Rakesh Manchanda

    Bassi before retirement has shamefully followed his `master`s voice` and not the constitutional voice.

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Assam marches in protest against anti-national advocates

Patriotic People’s Front Assam’s protest march in Guwahati against the anti-national advocates in JNU and few other educational institutes receives huge response from people.

The Guwahatians devotedly responded to the call of Patriotic People’s Front Assam (PPFA) for the protest march condemning the anti-national advocates that emerged from different higher educational institutions like Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Jadavpur University etc in the recent past. The protesters rubbished the section of JNU students for terming Afzal Guru, who was executed for…

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Delhi High Court’s remarks political rather than legal: experts

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New Delhi: Senior legal experts yesterday denounced the Delhi High Court’s remarks on nationalism and love for the nation while granting bail to JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar.

Judge Pratibha Rani’s observations are a part of a judicial trend which needs to be curbed right away, leading advocates said, with one dubbing them “totally uncalled for, unwarranted and unfortunate”.

Senior lawyers said the judge appeared to be broadly espousing the official line on the events at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) where Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested on February 12 on charges of sedition.

He was accused of raising anti-India slogans at a meeting organised to mark the execution of parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, a militant from Jammu and Kashmir. Kanhaiya Kumar has repeatedly denied the charge.

The high court judge, while granting six-month interim bail to Kanhaiya Kumar, reminded him his fundamental duties, love for the country, nationalism and the sacrifices soldiers were making and the demoralizing effect that anti-India slogans had on the families of martyrs.

Pointing out that the observations had been lapped up by government circles and right-wing groups, activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan told reporters: “It is a political rather than a legal judgement.”

“The judge has no business to expound on nationalism or anti-nationalism which is not an offence under the law.”

He added: “Nationalism is not defined anywhere and is not a ground on which freedom of speech can be restricted.”

“By expounding on this issue, the judge seems to have played into the hands of those who are using this as a political weapon to drum up fascist hysteria in this country.”

Echoing Bhushan’s sentiments, Supreme Court Bar Association president and senior counsel Dushyant Dave described the observations as “totally uncalled for, unwarranted and unfortunate”.

He added: “Judges must stay away from political debate.”

Saying Kanhaiya Kumar deserved unconditional bail, Dave said: “Nationalism is not a part of judges’ function to write about. They must confine to law and not emotive issues.”

Former Delhi High Court judge Rupinder Singh Sodhi said that making loose observations was an unfortunate trend that the judiciary was adopting. “I think this trend has to stop now and immediately.”

Justice Sodhi, also a senior lawyer in the Supreme Court, says granting interim bail had no legal precedent.

“All bails are interim in nature and can be cancelled at any time. Ordinarily, an interim bail is granted to fulfill an extreme social obligation which the court can always accommodate. As a rule, bail can either be granted or dismissed.”

Another leading lawyer who did not wish to be identified by name said that while attempting to define nationalism in a pluralistic society, the judge seemed to have overstepped her judicial limits.

“Her observations are symptomatic of all that ails Indian judiciary and deserve to be expunged.” (Parmod Kumar, IANS)

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Supporting JNU students, Indian-American students protest in US

Image for representation only. Image source:

New York: Expressing their solidarity with the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) who were arrested in a case of sedition and criminal conspiracy, students from two US Universities expressed their concern. They gathered at Washington Square Park showing their support.

Students, including Indian-Americans, from New York University (NYU) and the Cooper Union college in New York, gathered at Washington Square Park to support JNU Students Union leader Kanhaiya Kumar and other students who were arrested on sedition charges last month, the Washington Square News newspaper reported on Monday.

An Indian-American student said during the protest that the primary purpose of the event was to raise awareness about Kumar’s arrest.

“[Kumar] was arrested for making these comments against the government, even though he was not actually saying anything against the government, he was just having this poetry reading,” Anjana Sreedhar said.

“We are protesting against the fact that he was arrested under the sedition law which is very antiquated and very outdated,” Sreedhar added.

Sreedhar, along with several other students read English transcripts of Kumar’s speech during the poetry reading and asked if his words warranted arrest. They also encouraged passersby and attendees to attend a forum discussion at the Cooper Union next week.

A student activist at the NYU Sumathy Kumar said she attended the rally because she wants to show her support to the JNU students who were “beaten and arrested and so much violence was being committed against them just for speaking out”.

“I am an activist, and I think we take it for granted sometimes that we have the right to dissent and that home where my parents are from and where I call my ancestors are from, they are not allowed to dissent,” Kumar said.

Anthropology professor Tejaswini Ganti said that she was glad students were voicing support for JNU’s students and that universities should be an open forum for all opinions – even those that dissent against the governing party.(IANS)