JNU calls meeting of top officials

NEW DELHI: The JNU administration has called a meeting of the top university officials to discuss the resurfacing of five students on the campus who are wanted by Delhi Police in connection with a sedition case.

Students gather outside the Administrative Block in JNU. Photo : Shanker Chakravarty

A team of police officials from the South district has been camping outside the university campus since Sunday night.

The police officials have said that they will talk to the Vice-Chancellor ask him to direct the students to surrender.

JNU registrar Bhoopender Zutshi said he got to know about the presence of the students on the campus from media reports and has not heard from any of them so far.

“We are having a meeting of university officials. The further course of action will be decided only after the meeting,” Mr. Zutshi said. VC M. Jagadesh Kumar has not commented on the new development so far.

‘Fear mob lynching, not police’

The five students said they went into hiding fearing mob lynching and not the Delhi Police.

“We were laying low and did not come to public life because we feared mob lynching and not police,” Rama Naga, general secretary of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU), said.

Earlier, Khalid, addressing students in front of the admin bloc of the JNU, said he was “not a terrorist”, adding the BJP government “needed an excuse to target the campus”.

Cops go after scribes

The police seemed to have shifted focus on to journalists who had reported the incident at the university. Throughout Sunday, police teams went about calling journalists or going to their residence to question them. Most of these journalists, which include women, report on education or crime and have been covering the episode.

Police obtained a list of these journalists after examining call records of Umar Khalid and the others. According to police sources, the South district’s Special Task Force (STF) are trying to contact the journalists. The police, who have failed to trace JNU student Umar Khalid and others charged with sedition, seemed to have shifted focus on to journalists who had reported the incident at the university. Throughout Sunday, police teams went about calling journalists or going to their residence to question them. Most of these journalists, which include women, report on education or crime and have been covering the episode.

Some of the media persons are believed to have called up Umar Khalid and other absconding students before or after the February 9 incident at JNU.

Police obtained a list of these journalists after examining call records of Umar Khalid and the others. According to police sources, the South district’s Special Task Force (STF) are trying to contact the journalists.

“We tried questioning these journalists as we believe they have spoken to the suspects and may be able to provide some clues about their locations,” said a senior police officer.

One of these journalists said three policemen came to his house on Sunday when he was not there. “The police took my phone number from my family and contacted me. I told them I knew nothing about what they wanted,” he said on condition of anonymity.

The questioning, in fact, began on Friday when a police team landed at the residence of reporter Sadiq Naqvi, who was questioned at the Vasant Vihar police station by a STF team for more than seven hours on Sunday. Friends with Khalid during their days together at DU’s Kirorimal College, Mr. Naqvi is being questioned to know if he knows about Khalid’s possible hideouts. Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Naqvi said that he had not spoken to Khalid since the JNU episode.

Mr. Naqvi was questioned for more than six hours on Saturday too. While the police’s intentions may come across as suspect, senior officers have said that Mr. Naqvi will not be arrested.

On Sunday, police also detained a Jamia Millia Islamia student. Kamran, a Ph.D student who lives in Munirka, was served a notice and asked to join the probe.

Sources said Kamran was grilled for more than six hours as the police suspect he was present at the JNU event when “anti-national” slogans were allegedly raised.