UP police books six students for shouting “anti-national slogans calling for Azadi”

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The Police in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya have booked six persons, including students of a government-run college in Ayodhya, after its principal lodged a complaint that they shouted ‘anti-national slogans calling for azadi’

The students however say they were only demanding ‘azadi’ from the college authorities for their failure to conduct students’ union polls.

N D Pandey, principal of K S Saket Degree College in Ayodhya district, which has around 10,000 students on its rolls, contended that “indecent and anti-national slogans like le ke rahenge azadi” were shouted on college premises on 16 December.

With the Ramjanmabhoomi site nearby, he needed to look out for “such anti-national activities” and couldn’t allow slogans “that are raised at Jawaharlal Nehru University”, he was quoted as saying in a report carried by The Indian Express.

According to the students, however, they were only protesting against the non-conduct of union elections at the college, and their slogans were directed at the principal and the chief proctor.

Abhaas Krishna Yadav, who was elected student union president in 2018, was quoted as saying: “The protesting students were only saying that they want ‘azadi’ from the principal and chief proctor. Now, the principal has used that and is saying they were raising anti-national slogans. Last year, elections couldn’t be held due to the Ram Mandir issue. This year, students are protesting because elections have been cancelled while polling is happening across the country?”

The police have lodged an FIR Sumit Tewari, Shesh Narayan Pandey, Imran Hashmi, Satwik Pandey, Mohit Yadav and Manoj Mishra on 18 December. They were booked under IPC Sections 124-A (sedition), 147 (rioting) and 506 (criminal intimidation), apart from charges of obstructing public servants.

Pandey refused to clarify who among the six were students of the college. “I can’t tell you who are current students, but some of the six are students, while some are former students and some are outsiders,” he was quoted as saying.

 

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