Former DU professor Geelani arrested on sedition charge

Delhi: The Delhi Police on Monday arrested former Delhi University lecturer S.A.R. Geelani at 3 a.m. in connection with the sedition charges slapped on him for allegedly organising an event at the Press Club of India here.

Syed Abdul Rehman Geelani at his residence in Zakir Nagar, New Delhi. Photo: Meeta Ahlawat

Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) Jatin Narwal said Mr. Geelani was called for questioning and asked about the “anti-India” slogans raised by participants at an event where he was the speaker. He was earlier detained by the police.

Mr. Geelani was called to the police station on Monday night where he was detained and questioned for several hours, and later arrested. After his arrest, he was taken to RML Hospital for a medical examination, he said.

At a Press Club event on February 10, in which Mr. Geelani was present on the dais along with three other speakers, a group allegedly had shouted slogans hailing Afzal Guru. Taking suo motu cognisance of the matter, the police registered a case against Geelani and other unnamed persons on February 12.

Police had claimed that Mr. Geelani was booked as he is presumed to be the “main organiser” of the event.

“Request for booking a hall at the Press Club was done through Mr. Geelani’s email and the nature of the event was proposed to be a public meeting, which did not turn out to be so,” a senior official had said.

Following the registration of the FIR, the police questioned for two consecutive days DU professor Ali Javed, a Press Club member, under whose membership number the hall for the event was booked.

Mr. Geelani, who was acquitted in the 2001 Parliament attack case, was roughed up allegedly by ABVP members on the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus on Wednesday night. Mr. Geelani had arrived there to deliver a talk on Kashmir issues.

In March 2015, Mr. Geelani expressed serious concern about the “very dangerous” trend of rights activists being labelled as anti-national and targeted while those convicted for mass murders and fake encounters walking out free, some even reinstated to the positions they had held.

(With inputs from Shubhomoy Sikdar)