A former ABVP member has said the chargesheet filed against the 10 JNU students, including Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid, is the brainchild of BJP and claimed that some ABVP members had themselves raised "Pakistan Zindabad" slogan on the JNU campus in 2016 which led to the slapping of sedition charges.
Pradeep Narwal, who left the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) after the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) sedition row in 2016, told IANS that the entire issue is politically-motivated and has been raised to benefit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the upcoming general election.
The entire controversy was fomented by the ABVP in 2016 to divert the attention from the University of Hyderabad student Rohith Vemula's suicide.
"This was a media trial, then, and this is a media trial, now. The controversy was created by the BJP to dilute the suicide of Rohith Vemula, who was forced to end his life by Bandaru Dattatreya (then Labour Minister from Telangana), who escalated the matter to the HRD Ministry, while the matter should have been dealt with at the Vice Chancellor level," Narwal said.
He also suggested that certain members of the ABVP and its sympathisers were also seen among the students in the video grab which captured "Pakistan Zindabad" slogan -- the slogan purported to be the heart of the sedition charge in the chargesheet -- being raised.
"Hence, either the video is doctored, as I have been saying all along, or the chargesheet should also be filed against those ABVP members," he said, adding that he was frequently threatened and abused by the ABVP members for days after his leaving the group.
Vemula committed suicide three years back on this day in his room on the University of Hyderabad campus.
In his suicide note, he had narrated how he was being victimised for coming from a low caste and how casteism was rife in the university. His death sent thousands of university students across India into agitation, who waged several protests against the "institutional discrimination" at places of higher education.
Narwal, who joined the Congress six months back, said the chargesheet has been filed to create a "narrative" before the general election on the basis of "doctored videos".
"If due process is not followed in this case, it would be the biggest fraud on democracy," he said.
The Delhi Police on Monday filed a chargesheet naming Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya and seven Kashmiri students, mentioning that anti-national slogans were raised by them at an event held at Sabarmati Dhaba on the JNU campus in February 2016.
The police have cited video footage made by ABVP members, among others, as evidence.