February 19, 2016

India: Fabrication to forged evidence - all those who have worked to ruin Kanhaiya's life must be named – and shamed (Siddharth Varadarajan)

The Wire - 19 February 2016
excerpts from a an article by Siddharth Varadarajan
Full text at: https://tinyurl.com/jdstac6

"From fabricating a case to resorting to violence and peddling forged ‘evidence’, all those who have worked to ruin a young life must be named – and shamed.

[. . .]
What is he doing here? By anchoring the idea of freedom in rights that belong to all Indians equally, he is doing more to secure the future of the country – including its territorial boundaries – than those who treat every political challenge to the state as a military threat. Kanhaiya is challenging the superficial attraction that secessionism might have in Kashmir or elsewhere in a far more effective way than the state – which doesn’t seem capable of thinking beyond the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, sedition and other purely coercive methods.
I don’t know what is driving the Modi government’s insane persecution of this vibrant young man. Some argue that his arrest was, initially, the result of sheer incompetence. This theory is comforting, but the facts that have emerged since then make it harder and harder to believe.
Fabrication to forgery
Plainclothes ‘sleuths’ from the Delhi police were present at the February 9 meeting where Kanhaiya allegedly performed his seditious acts. Despite having been alerted by a complaint from the ABVP, the policemen noticed nothing untoward and took no action.
The next day, someone on campus provided cell phone footage of the slogan-shouting which had taken place to Zee TV, which went to town. The channel’s owner, Subhash Chandra, is very close to the RSS. Zee TV’s lead was quickly followed by Times Now and NewsX. For two days, the TV channels whipped up a frenzy; and on the morning of February 12, Rajnath Singh tweeted, “Whatever has happened in JNU is extremely unfortunate. I have instructed Delhi CP to take strong action against the anti-India elements.”
Later that day, Kanhaiya was arrested and charged with sedition. Since it had acted under political pressure and done no proper investigation of its own, the police then frantically went about trying to obtain footage of the incident from TV channels – hoping to find a clip on which they could hang their absurd allegation of sedition. They found nothing.
The blatant partisanship of Bassi became evident on February 15, when a BJP MLA, OP Sharma, was filmed viciously beating a CPI leader outside the Patiala House court, and a pro-BJP lawyer, Vikram Singh Chauhan, was also found attacking students. Instead of filing charges against them, Bassi claimed that the MLA had been attacked first. Sharma’s astonishing statement that he was even prepared to shoot dead someone accused of being “pro-Pakistan” has been endorsed by Sudhanshu Trivedi, the BJP’s national spokesman on live television. To date, no BJP leader has sought to distance the party from Sharma’s words and deeds, and no prosecution has been brought against Sharma for incitement to violence.
Two days later, despite clear instructions from the Supreme Court, the police allowed thugs to go on the rampage at the Patiala House court. Section 124A of the IPC defines sedition thus: “Whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards, the Government established by law in India,” commits sedition. The courts are a vital part of the Indian state and indulging in violence inside a court certainly “brings into … contempt” the government established by law. Yet it is Kanhaiya who faces sedition charges despite the absence of any evidence.
In order to salvage his tattered reputation, Bassi has been claiming that the police now have clinching evidence of Kanhaiya shouting anti-national slogans. Predictably, this ‘evidence’ soon found its way to TV channels like Zee, Times Now, NewsX and India News, whose anchors triumphantly rushed to broadcast it:
As ABP News pointed out on Thursday, this clip is an edited version of the original clip we saw at the beginning of this article. Kanhaiya’s call for azadi from bhukhmari, samantvad, sanghvad etc. has been cleverly converted into a call for Kashmir’s azadi – something he never said.
When Kanhaiya is eventually released from jail and the charges against him are dropped – as they surely must – the Supreme Court must set up a Special Investigation Team to root out the criminals who fabricated this “evidence” and put it into circulation. The politicians and policemen responsible for this false and malicious prosecution must be arraigned and brought to justice. No one, not even Bassi, must be spared, if it is found that they played a role in the fabrication or its dissemination. The lawyers and BJP leaders who attacked students and teachers and journalists and others inside and outside the Patiala House court must be prosecuted. The lawyers should be debarred for life.
There is no criminal law that readily applies to the journalists who engaged in the character-assassination of Kanhaiya Kumar, putting his very life in danger. Some of them have sons and daughters who are Kanhaiya’s age, and yet felt not a twinge of guilt in feeding a young man to rabid dogs. Let our contempt for them be their punishment. They are a disgrace to journalism—and to India."