India 'sedition' students arrested

This photograph taken late on February 23, 2016 shows Indian student activist Umar Khalid (C) and Anirban Bhattacharya (L) walking through the campus of New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on their way to surrendering to Indian authorities. Khalid and Bhattacharya are accused of sedition over a rally at which anti-India slogans were shouted. Students have accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi's right-wing nationalist government of misusing the British-era sedition law to stifle dissent. AFP PHOTO

Two Indian students accused of sedition for helping organise a protest at Delhi's prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), have handed themselves into police.

Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya were among several wanted by police.

The arrest of JNU student union head Kanhaiya Kumar earlier this month led to protests and clashes across India.

The 9 February protest over the 2013 hanging of a Kashmiri man allegedly saw the chanting of anti-India slogans.

After Kumar was arrested the other students named in connection with the protests went missing but they resurfaced at JNU on Sunday night.

Police did not enter the campus but late on Tuesday night Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya left university premises of their own accord and handed themselves over. Police cannot enter without permission from university authorities, reports say.

Police have now demanded that the remaining students - Ashutosh Kumar, Anant Prakash Narayan, Riyazul Haq and Rama Naga - surrender.

Critics have condemned the charges as an assault on freedom of expression, but government ministers have refused to back down, vowing to punish what they describe as "anti-national elements".

In the wake of the demonstration, some local media accused Umar Khalid of having links with the Pakistan-based Islamist militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad, although the government later denied the reports.

"I'm not a terrorist," Khalid told a gathering. "I have never projected myself as a Muslim while doing politics on campus. I always tried to see exploitation of Muslims along with the exploitation faced by Dalits, tribals and others."

The protest was over the execution of Afzal Guru who was convicted of a 2001 plot to attack India's parliament, charges he always denied. The attack, in which 14 people died, was carried out by Kashmiri militants.

His 2013 hanging sparked protests in Kashmir, and he was seen as a martyr and a symbol of perceived injustice. But many of India's politicians were angered when reports surfaced of anti- India slogans chanted at the protest held to mark his execution.


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১০-১৫ দিনের মধ্যে বিদ্যুৎ সমস্যার সমাধান হবে: প্রধানমন্ত্রী

তিনি বলেন, 'বৃষ্টির অভাবে দুর্ভোগ আরও বেড়েছে। আমরা বারবার মিটিংয়ে বসে উপায় খুঁজে বের করছি এবং এই দুর্ভোগ কমানোর চেষ্টা করছি।'