Kanhaiya walks out of Tihar jail, gets a rousing welcome
NEW DELHI: Student leader Kanhaiya Kumar was accorded a hero’s welcome at JNU upon his release from Tihar jail on Thursday, nearly three weeks after he was arrested on a controversial sedition charge that sparked major protests and a nationwide debate over free speech.
Kanhaiya delivered a rousing speech to fellow students and teachers on the campus, saying he stood for “freedom in India” and not “freedom from India”, setting social media abuzz. He denied having made anti-national comments and accused the government of trying to crush any voice of dissent, saying the victimised JNU students stood with the country’s poor and the ordinary foot soldiers of law enforcement.
“I thank the people sitting in Parliament deciding wrong and right, the police and those few media channels,” he said.
Students and teachers queued outside Kanhaiya’s hostel Brahmaputra with drums and musical instruments on Thursday evening to accompany him during the speech. “Kanhaiya was released from the jail at around 6.30 pm after his bail bond and release orders were properly scrutinised,” Tihar jail spokesman Mukesh Prasad said.
On Wednesday, the Delhi high court granted the student leader six months’ interim bail while the police conduct an investi-
gation into the case, directing him not to participate in “antinational” activities.
Kanhaiya was arrested on February 12 over a rally at JNU where anti-India slogans were allegedly chanted. He had been in judicial custody in Tihar jail since February 17.
Two other students,
Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, accused of being among the organisers of the JNU event, have been arrested on the same sedition charge as Kanhaiya. Sedition carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment though convictions are rare.
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JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar (centre) after his release from Tihar jail in New Delhi on Thursday.