New Delhi: Teachers and students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) along with several journalists were today allegedly roughed up outisde the Patiala House court complex in Delhi by lawyers just ahead of a hearing in a case of sedition which saw the arrest of JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar.
A scuffle broke out before the court took up the hearing, as some men, said to be lawyers, entered the court room and allegedly started pushing out students and teachers, mostly from JNU, and media persons, asking them to leave the premises.
"When the proceedings were going on, some people wearing lawyers' gowns first started hurling abuses at us. And then suddenly some of them, without any provocation, started beating us badly. They pushed us and beat us up including women students," AISF president Waliullah Qadri told reporters.
The students and teachers refused to go out of the court room and said they have a right to attend the proceedings as it was an open court hearing. At least three students were thrashed by the group of men.
The group also began to check the identity cards of media persons and asked them also to leave the court room. The media persons objected to their demand and refused to move out of the court room when they were attacked by the men, who accused the media persons of being JNU supporters and accused them of wrong reporting.
Two print and electronic media reporters were injured, PTI reported.
There was heavy police deployment in the court complex, but the students alleged that they did not take any action against this group.
The men, who appeared to be lawyers were also heard shouting slogans like “Long Live India, down with JNU”.
A video clip shows a group of purported lawyers in black jackets shouting slogans and manhandling people. JNU students protesting the arrest of Kanhaiya Kumar were also asked to leave the court premises.
BJP MLA from Delhi O P Sharma, who was present in the court premises in relation to another case, also had a scuffle with protestors who were allegedly shouting anti-India slogans at the time when Kanhaiya Kumar was being produced in court.
Sharma was later seen chasing a young man, later identified as a CPI member, on the roads outside the court premises and beating him up eventually. JNU students alleged that they were forcibly evicted from the court premises. Sharma was later whisked away by the police which may register an FIR against him.
The scuffle also led to several journalists being heckled and manhandled. Some journalists also complained of being threatened and their mobile phones being snatched away. Meanwhile, the Broadcast Editors Association has condemned the act against journalists. "BEA demands that the government should ensure security of media personnel. Their security should be paramount concern," said N K Singh, General Secretary of BEA.
Kanhaiya Kumar, the chief of the JNU students' union, was on Friday arrested by plainclothesmen on campus for allegedly participating in an event to commemorate the death of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru on February 9. The event led to a lot of controversy with allegations that anti-India slogans were raised by the students at the venue.
The university teachers had on Sunday rallied behind its protesting students and questioned the administration's decision to allow the police crackdown on the campus even as they appealed to the public not to “brand” the institution as “anti-national”.
Teachers bodies of 40 central universities and Pune-based FTII had also come out in support of the agitating students saying it is an issue of “indiscipline” and not “sedition”.
Meanwhile, JNU Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar has appealed to students not to resort to strikes and ensure that the academic programme of the varsity is not disturbed.