Delhi police arrest 2 students in sedition case

Two students were arrested Wednesday and face sedition charges after they surrendered following protests in New Delhi where anti-India slogans were allegedly shouted, police said.

After avoiding arrest for more than a week, the two came out of Jawaharlal Nehru University campus late Tuesday with some students forming a chain around them and gave themselves up to the police.

Rajan Bhagat, New Delhi police spokesman, said the two were questioned and arrested Wednesday. The two deny the charges.

Kanhaiya Kumar, president of the university’s student union, was arrested earlier over his participation in events on Feb. 9 when anti-India slogans calling for the destruction of India and independence for the Indian portion of Kashmir were allegedly shouted.

After Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya surrendered Tuesday night, police are still looking for three other students from the prestigious university who have been missing for more than a week and presumed to be in hiding.

Khalid and Bhattacharya returned to the campus two days ago. Police did not enter the campus, but waited outside for them to come out and surrender.

Thousands of protesters from New Delhi’s two main universities marched near Parliament on Tuesday, demanding Kumar’s immediate release and accusing supporters of the ruling Hindu nationalist party of creating political turmoil in the universities by levelling the anti-India charges.

In Srinagar on Tuesday, Kashmir University students demanded the release of Delhi University lecturer, S.A.R. Geelani, who was arrested last week on sedition charges for organizing a separate event in Indian capital earlier this month where anti-India slogans were allegedly shouted along with criticism of the secret hanging in 2013 of a Kashmiri separatist convicted of attacking the Indian Parliament.

Opposition politicians raised the issue in Parliament on Wednesday, and Mayawati, leader of the Bahujan Samaj Party, a party of lowest castes, accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and his Bharatiya Janata Party of suppressing freedom of expression and fanning communal tensions. Mayawati uses on name.

Lawmakers belonging to communist parties also protested at Parliament, accusing the government of attacking democracy and the public’s constitutional rights.