Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar was released from Tihar Jail on Thursday, a day after the Delhi High Court granted him a six-month interim bail. The student leader, who was arrested on February 12 after being charged with sedition, was greeted with loud cheers by his supporters when he came out of the jail, reported PTI. Celebrations also erupted at the JNU campus, where Kumar addressed students following his release.
Kumar said he had been subjected to a media trial following his arrest and denied making any anti-national statements. He said he never asked for freedom from India, but freedom within India. "We want freedom from people who are looting the country," he said.
The student leader took on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying, "Modiji only says 'Mann ki Baat', but doesn't listen to it." He also took a dig at politicians, saying, "I thank those great people sitting in Parliament who decide on what is right and wrong. I thank the Delhi Police. I thank those TV news channels. To insult JNU, they gave it place in the prime time." He ended his speech with slogans of "azadi" and freedom from hunger and corruption, reported Hindustan Times.
Earlier, the Delhi government said that an investigation it conducted had found no evidence of Kumar shouting anti-national slogans at a university event, as claimed by the Delhi Police. The magisterial investigation report also said that no witnesses or videos were available to corroborate the sedition charges, PTI reported. It added that JNU student Umar Khalid's role in the protest needed to be investigated further. Khalid and his peer Anirban Bhattacharya, who are also charged with sedition, are currently in judicial custody at Tihar Jail till March 15.
The Hindu said that the Delhi government might file criminal charges against some television channels that reportedly doctored videos of the event at JNU on February 9, which was organised to protest the hanging of 2001 Parliament attacks convict Afzal Guru. A forensic lab had earlier said two out of seven clippings of the incident had been tampered with. News channels that aired the doctored videos may also come under scrutiny.