Former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union leaders Kanhaiya Kumar and Shehla Rashid were on Monday dropped from a Congress event in Delhi. Kumar and Rashid were scheduled to be part of a panel at an event titled “Remembering Mahatma Gandhi on 72nd Martyrdom Anniversary”, the Hindustan Times reported. The party did not explain why the two were dropped.
Kumar and Rashid were later replaced by Congress spokespersons Manish Tewari and Priyanka Chaturvedi, and Rajya Sabha member KTS Tulsi. Unidentified Congress leaders told The Print that the two were not called for the event because of the sedition charges filed against Kumar.
“The Delhi Police has slapped sedition charges against Kanhaiya Kumar for raising anti-India slogans at the Jawaharlal Nehru University,” The Print quoted a party leader as saying. “It makes no sense for the party to give them its platform, so their names were struck out hours before the event started.”
Although Manish Tewari had defended the party’s decision to invite the two former JNU students, he did not explain why they were later not called for the event. According to the Hindustan Times, the Congress’ minority department claimed that Kumar and Rashid were unavailable for the event, after which their names were removed.
On January 14, Kumar was charged with sedition along with 12 others for allegedly chanting slogans praising Afzal Guru at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in 2016. Kumar was president of the JNU Students Union at the time. The chargesheet was filed nearly three years after the event.