“The charge of sedition was added in the FIR on the basis of the nature of allegations in the complaint,” Superintendent of Police (Aligarh city) Ashutosh Dwivedi told Scroll.in. “After preliminary inquiry, no evidence was found to substantiate it. The sedition charge shall be dropped.”
The students were booked for sedition on Tuesday after clashes that followed a confrontation with journalists from news channel Republic TV. The police had filed a First Information Report against the students based on a complaint by Bharatiya Janata Party Yuva Morcha district leader Mukesh Lodhi.
The FIR claimed that “hundreds of AMU students” surrounded his vehicle and assaulted him and fired at him. The FIR accused the AMU students of shouting pro-Pakistan and anti-India slogans.
An unidentified police officer told NDTV that a video clip that Lodhi had submitted did not show students shouting anti-India slogans. Senior police officer Akash Kulhari said sedition charges against the 14 students cannot be sustained without evidence. “We will absolutely drop it.”
News of the scuffle on the university campus emerged on Tuesday evening when a student posted a tweet accusing a Republic TV crew shooting on campus of referring to the institution as a “university of terrorists” in an attempt to elicit a reaction.
Following the incident, the university administration filed two separate complaints with the police – one against the journalists for entering the campus without permission and the other against unidentified miscreants for indulging in arson and unlawful activities.
The university also suspended eight students on complaints of assault and violence.