With exactly a week to go to for his retirement, Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi seems intent on etching his name in public memory. Bassi has had his hands full over the past 10 days, ever since his men arrested Jawaharalal Nehru University Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar on charges of sedition, based on a video showing other students allegedly raising anti-national slogans at an event on the death anniversary of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
Compelling evidence has since appeared to show the clip was doctored. As if that wasn't enough, journalists, students, and professors were beaten up outside on two consecutive days last week at the Patiala House court under the noses of the police. Alongside, the Delhi Police reacted to tweets from fake Twitter handles, ensuring that Bassi has drawn flak from several quarters, including the ruling Aam Aadmi Party government in the capital for his mishandling of the JNU case.
On Monday, he created controversy when asked about the fate of five JNU students accused of sedition including Umar Khalid, whom the police believe organised protests they claim are anti-national.
After going underground for 10 days, Khalid and his fellow students returned to the campus on Sunday night. They have said they would not surrender but they will not resist arrest if the police come for them.
A police team has been waiting outside the campus gates since Monday morning, but the university authorities have not permitted them entry.
Asked about his course of action, Bassi told television channels: “World is full of possibilities and options. They [the students] should join the probe. If they are innocent, they should present evidence of their innocence.”
His comments drew an incredulous and sharp reactions on social media. Here's a selection:
One user made a reference to the job that Bassi was seeking after retirement: that of chief information commissioner. It was later reported that the JNU controversy caused him to be dropped from the list of candidates.