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THE CITIZEN BUREAU | 3 MARCH, 2016

#JNURow: A Complete Timeline


NEW DELHI: As the controversy over the arrest of Jawaharlal Nehru University students on the charges of sedition, continues to play out, here is a recap of the developments:

Feb 8:

  • Application submitted to hold event on Feb 9, titled “Poetry Reading - The Country Without Post.” Permission granted.


Feb 9:
 

  • Posters put up stating that the event is “against the judicial killing of Afzal Guru” and in solidarity with the people of Kashmir.
  • Permission withdrawn.
  • Event goes ahead as planned. Event joined by “masked outsiders” and sloganeering between two groups disrupts the event. Alleged “anti-national” slogans were shouted, being countered by the second group composed of ABVP members at JNU.
  • Incidentally, Zee News was present for the entire duration of this event. They had been invited and signed in by ABVP members - as the JNU gate log shows. The District Magistrate has asked Zee News for the raw footage from the event; sources say that this has not yet been provided.
  • JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar says that he arrived at the scene only to break up the clash between the two groups. Both groups marched to Ganga Dhaba.
  • Police in plain clothes were present at the event. No FIR was lodged at this stage. No effort was made to stop and identity the masked people shouting slogans.


Feb 10:
 

  • Video footage of the event was telecast on Zee News.
  • Since then, this footage has been shown to be doctored (3 of 7 videos from the event are doctored according to Hyderabad-based Truth Labs as submitted in a report by the District Magistrate on 2 March 2016).
  • JNU sets up a proctorial committee to inquire into the event.
  • Prime Time news dedicated to incident. Over the course of the next few days, at least three channels, Times Now, News X and Zee News played the version of video that has since been confirmed to be doctored.
  • Times Now’s Arnab Goswami tells Umar Khalid that he is a danger to the country and “anti-national.”

 

Feb 11:
 

  • Maheish Giri, the BJP Lok Sabha member from East Delhi lodges an FIR against 'anti-national' students of Jawaharlal Nehru University who opposed the death penalty to parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.’
  • Kanhaiya Kumar addresses the students at JNU. Mainstream media makes no mention of this speech when news of Kumar’s arrest breaks.



 

Feb 12:
 

  • Home Minister Rajnath Singh warns of "strongest possible" action against those involved in raising anti-India slogans.
  • SAR Geelani, former Delhi University Professor, slapped with charges of sedition for sloganeering at an event at the Press Club of India.
  • Kanhaiya Kumar arrested on charges of sedition. Charges also slapped on five other students.
  • JNU inquiry committee names eight students to be debarred. Action criticised as committee debars the students without a hearing and within a day.


Feb 13:
 

  • Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal ordered a magisterial inquiry into the JNU incident.
  • Protests in support of the students at JNU and against the arrest of Kanhaiya Kumar spread.
  • Congress Vice-president Rahul Gandhi visits the campus


Feb 14:
 

  • Rajnath Singh linked JNU slogan shouting to LeT leader Hafiz Saeed. "I also want to make it clear that the JNU incident has the support of LeT chief Hafiz Saeed. We should also understand this reality that Hafiz Saeed has supported this incident and it is extremely unfortunate,” Singh told the media. Rajnath Singh retweeted a tweet from Hafiz Saeed claiming the JNU attack. Delhi Commissioner of Police BS Bassi also retweeted the tweet.
  • Tweet relied on by HM Singh and DCP Bassi turned out to be from a fake account.


Feb 15:
 

  • Violence breaks out at Patiala House court as Kanhaiya Kumar is to be produced. Alleged lawyers attack students, professors and journalists. Kanhaiya Kumar’s police custody extended.
  • Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi tells the media, "Kahaiya Kumar had joined the meeting in the campus where anti-national slogans were raised. He also raised these slogans."


Feb 16:
 

  • SAR Geelani formally arrested.
  • Delhi High Court rejects petition seeking NIA probe into JNU incident.
  • Delhi journalists stage a protest march against violence at Patiala Court.
  • Students at Jadavpur University shout slogans and organise a torch rally to show solidarity with Kumar.
  • Protest and support rallies spread. Messages of solidarity come pouring in.


Feb 17:
 

  • Supreme Court takes note of violence at Patiala House. Orders strict guidelines to be followed and gives responsibility of law and order to Delhi police.
  • Violence at Patiala House again breaks out. Kanhaiya Kumar assaulted by lawyers within Court premises.
  • Supreme Court constitutes a panel of lawyers to look into the matter.



 

  • Academics, scientists, writers from across the world send solidarity messages, including Noam Chomsky and Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk. 455 academicians from universities across the globe signed a petition which read: "JNU stands for a vital imagination of the space of the university - an imagination that embraces critical thinking, democratic dissent, student activism, and the plurality of political beliefs.”
  • Three JNU ABVP office bearers resign. “We can’t be mouthpiece of such a govt. which has unleashed oppression on student community, legislature like O P Sharma, govt. which has legitimized the action of right wing fascist forces either in Patiala house court or in front of JNU north gate.”


Feb 18:
 

  • SC rejects Kumar's bail plea, asks his counsel to move the high court, saying SC hearing the plea would set a bad precedent.
  • India Today showed how the footage being circulated as ‘clinching proof’ of Kanhaiya Kumar’s and other students’ involvement in shouting “anti national” slogans could be doctored.


Feb 19:
 

  • Umar Khalid's family allegedly receive death threats.
  • Other sedition-accused students remain missing (they have since said that they were waiting for the situation to calm down, fearing for their lives).
  • A producer of Zee News, Vishwa Deepak, resigned from the channel, asking whether it was “in nexus with the Delhi Police?” “Are we the mouthpieces of the BJP or the RSS that we will do whatever they say? The video didn't have any "Pakistan Zindabad" slogans at all – yet we played it repeatedly to spread madness and mayhem.”
  • Thousands joined a solidarity march in New Delhi as part of the #StandWithJNU movement.


Feb 20:
 

  • NHRC slams Delhi police for not doing enough to protect Kanhaiya Kumar from the violence at Patiala House. NHRC said statement released by the police as an appeal by Kanhaiya was not written by him voluntarily, and added that Kumar had been subjected to “psychological pressure” by the police.
  • Statements of solidarity come pouring in.


Feb 21:
 

  • Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya and others accused of sedition resurface on campus.
  • Khalid addresses the students:



 

Feb 22:
 

  • India Today conducts sting operation on lawyers that led Patiala House attack. Footage showed three lawyers bragging that they thrashed Kanhaiya for three hours while he was in police custody.


Feb 23:
 

  • Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya surrender. Sent to three days police custody.
  • Parliament session to begin. Debate on JNU, Rohith Vemula suicide.
  • The New York Times carries an editorial in support of JNU.
  • Thousands come out as part of ‘Chalo Delhi’ march in the memory of Rohith Vemula and in protest of the government’s interference at HCU. JNUSU supports march.


Feb 24:
 

  • Kanhaiya Kumar bail hearing deferred till Mar 29, after Delhi police opposed bail and said Kumar needs to be questioned along with Khalid and Bhattacharya.
  • Parliament debates JNU and Rohith Vemula’s suicide.
  • Controversy erupts over Smriti Irani’s speech.
  • Several peaceful protesters, including Rohith Vemula’s mother, detained at a candlelight vigil at India Gate.


Feb 25:
 

  • Kanhaiya Kumar sent to one-day police custody and questioned with Khalid and Bhattacharya.
  • Parliament debates JNU and Rohith Vemula’s suicide. Mayawati responds to Irani’s speech.


Feb 27:
 

  • Case transferred to the Delhi Police Special Cell.


Feb 29:
 

  • Delhi High Court hears Kanhaiya Kumar bail plea. Raps Delhi police: “Do you know what sedition even is?” Reserves orders for March 2.
  • Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya police custody extended by one day.
  • Anant Prakash Narayan, one of the students accused of sedition, writes an open letter to Smriti Irani based on her speech in Lok Sabha. “As well as taking charge of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, it is expected that you take responsibility of this country’s central universities, while respecting their autonomy. What you did in the matter of Rohith Vemula is evident to everyone; the pressure that you put on the university administration came forth in the form of Rohith’s institutional murder.”


Mar 1:
 

  • Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya sent to 14 day judicial custody.


Mar 2:
 

  • Kanhaiya Kumar granted six month interim bail.


(Cartoon by Mika Aziz)

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