Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)
Sedition charge against PU students dropped after DGP’s help
Sedition charge against protesting Panjab university students was dropped on Tuesday night after the intervention of Chandigarh’s DGP Tajendra Luthra and some senior officers, thus saving the varsity and the Central government of possible embarrassment.
Panjab University authorities and police were seething with rage over the violent protest called by students over what they termed a massive fee hike.
In his complaint to the police, the varsity’s chief security officer Ashwani Kaul accused the students of raising slogans and waging war against the state.
Accordingly, the police registered a case of sedition under Section 124 (A) of the Indian Penal Code. Incidentally, this is the same section under which the Delhi Police had last year arrested the student union president of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Kanhaiya Kumar, sparking a major controversy.
DGP Luthra, who was in Delhi, spoke with the adviser to the administrator Parimal Rai and advised SSP Eish Singhal Singhal not to rush into registering a case of sedition against students. Then, PU authorities were approached and asked if they were sure of their complaint and wanted to register cases against students under Sections “usually associated with terrorists.”
The police had, however, registered the case and the only way out was to drop the charge.
“The first case diary gives us that option to drop or add a charge in the FIR,” said a police official, adding that once the university authorities withdrew their charge, the police added in the case diary that sedition charges were being deleted. The police informed the court of this on Wednesday.
“Initially, we said there were slogans against the state. Later, we clarified in writing that the slogans were raised against the University Grants Commission, the ministry of human resource development and the PU,” said the varsity’s chief security officer Ashwani Kaul.