Security was increased at the Delhi High Court today for a hearing on JNU student Kanhaiya Kumar’s request for bail, but it could not be taken up today for technical reasons. The Supreme Court declined to take up Mr Kumar’s petition and asked the Centre and the Delhi Police to ensure that his lawyers get protection at the high court.
Here are the latest developments:
- Kanhaiya Kumar, who was arrested for sedition a week ago and is in Tihar Jail till March 2, had told the Supreme Court that he did not feel safe enough to go to the lower courts.
- Senior lawyer Raju Ramachandran, who is representing Mr Kumar, said that the High Court is in the vicinity of the Patiala House court, where violence broke out twice and where the student was attacked by lawyers on Wednesday.
- “Lawyers of both courts are protesting against Kanhaiya,” Mr Ramachandran said. The Supreme Court, however, asked them to go to the High Court, also ordering proper security.
- Calling it an “extraordinary case in prevailing circumstances,” the top court said, “People should not think only Supreme Court is capable of providing security and not the other courts.”
- The 28-year-old student leader from Jawaharlal Nehru University or JNU was arrested a week ago for allegedly making anti-national statements at an event on February 9 in support of terrorist Afzal Guru, where anti-India slogans were raised.
- In his bail petition to the Supreme Court, Mr Kumar had said he was bypassing the lower courts for reasons of security, also had also cited a perceived threat to his life in prison from other inmates.
- Mr Kumar was beaten on Wednesday by a group of lawyers while he was being taken into the Patiala House court for his hearing. He was also slapped while he was waiting for the hearing.
- The lawyers had defied the Supreme Court’s orders banning protests and barged into the court complex before the hearing. They also assaulted reporters, accusing them of being “anti-national”.
- Several lawyers took out a march today in solidarity with their comrades who have been accused of attacking the media and JNU students.
- The Supreme Court sent five lawyers to assess the riot. That group, which includes Rajeev Dhawan and Kapil Sibal, told the top court that there was “an atmosphere of fear and terrorising” in the lower court and that the police failed at even basic crowd control.