Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury were among the nine persons who have been booked on sedition charges in connection with the JNU row, the Hyderabad police said.
An FIR has been registered against Rahul, Kejriwal, Yechury, Congress leaders Anand Sharma and Ajay Maken, CPI leader D Raja, JD(U) spokesperson KC Tyagi, JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar and JNU research scholar Umar Khalid on the order of a court, based on a complaint filed by lawyer Janardhan Goud.
"It is a court-referred matter. Following the court's directive, a case under Section 124A of the IPC (sedition) has been registered on Saturday against nine persons, including Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal, Sitaram Yechury, JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar and others," Saroornagar police station inspector S Lingaiah said.
The court has posted the matter for hearing on March 4. In his petition, Goud said Rahul and other leaders, despite being aware that Delhi Police had registered a case against Kanhaiya on charge of sedition, had visited JNU campus and intentionally supported them and hence it amounted to sedition. Kanhaiya and Khalid, who have earlier been arrested in Delhi on sedition charge, have also been booked here on the same charge. Goud had filed a complaint in the court of Metropolitan Magistrate here on Thursday, seeking its direction to police for registration of a case against Kanhaiya and Khalid for allegedly raising anti-India and pro-Afzal Guru slogans on JNU campus.
In his petition, Goud said he has every right to question those who are indulging in anti-national activities and also those who are encouraging anti-nationals in the name of solidarity for those who are facing criminal charges under section 124(A) of IPC.
Rahul Gandhi had visited JNU campus on February 14 and accused the NDA government of suppressing students' voice. He visited the campus to express solidarity with the students, a day after the arrest of Kanhaiya. Accompanied by Ajay Maken and Anand Sharma, Rahul interacted with the agitating students and lauded the university for representing free voice. Later Yechury, Raja and Tyagi had visited the campus.
Both Rahul and Kejriwal met President Pranab Mukherjee over the incident and joined the students who held a protest march in Delhi on February 24. The Opposition also targeted the government over the issue in Parliament. HRD Minister Smriti Irani attacked the Opposition for blaming her over the JNU incident and the suicide of Dalit student Rohith Vemula at Hyderabad Central University. The government in turn targeted the opposition for supporting those who raised anti-national slogans.
At JNU, drawing parallel between the actions against students in the JNU and events leading to the suicide of Rohith, Rahul had said the question is why a student is not allowed to say what he believes in. Noting that India is progressing because more people are raising voices, he said everybody has a right to disagree.
Making repeated reference to Rohith's suicide and targetting the government on the issue, the Congress vicepresident had said, "A youngster expresses his views and the government says he is anti-national."
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