Officers not connected with the case said that such tactics are par for the course and investigators are expected to ask questions about others being probed in a case.
But the purported interrogation report does offer an insight into the zeal and vigour with which the police have pursued the sedition charge and the measured manner in which Kanhaiya responded while he was in police custody for five days.
The following are excerpts from the purported interrogation report. Kanhaiya was initially verbally asked most, if not all, of these questions by the police. Later, the police gave him a questionnaire and asked him to give written answers — a practice usually followed when a suspect cooperates with a law-enforcement agency. The excerpts below are from the report that the police drew up in English from the original Hindi version.
We keeping out the names of students — other than those already widely reported — who were mentioned by the police as the “accused” during the interrogation. Some sentences have been edited by this newspaper for clarity. Italicised sentences are annotations included by this newspaper.
Police: How will you help us arrest the co-accused namely Umar Khalid… Ashutosh… Aparajitha Raja… Anant Prakash… and Anirban Bhattacharya?
Kanhaiya: Most of them are students of JNU and stay inside the campus. Apart from this, I have no idea about them. Aparajitha is the only party (AISF, an affiliate of the CPI) member from this group. I know her very well. Umar Khalid… Ashutosh Prakash are students of JNU and stay on the campus. The rest I don’t know and I have never met them.
(Aparajita is the daughter of veteran CPI leader D. Raja. She has not been named as an accused in any court document. A BJP leader had pointed fingers at her but CPI leaders have repeatedly said that she was seen at the February 9 event because she went there to avert a clash. “My daughter is the president of the JNU unit of the AISF. When there was a scuffle on the campus, as a responsible citizen, my daughter went to pacify,” NDTV had quoted Raja as saying.)
Police: Can you come along with us to find out the above accused person or not? If not, then why?
Kanhaiya: They are from JNU and stay in different hostels. Apart from this, I don’t know where they are.
Police: Where to find all the people named above?
Kanhaiya: They are from JNU like Umar, Aparajitha… Ashutosh, Anant. As I believe, they can be found on the JNU campus only.
Police: Have you ever visited J&K or Pakistan? If yes, when and why?
Kanhaiya: I visited Srinagar University once in 2011 or 2012 to attend a seminar. I never visited Pakistan.
Police: Which is the political party with which you are attached and what post do you hold in the said party?
Kanhaiya: The All India Students’ Federation. I was unit secretary and a member of the state unit. Now I am president of JNU Students’ Union.
Police: Who are your friends/associates /members in the said political party?
Kanhaiya: Vishwajeet Kumar, Valli Ullah Kadri, Aparajitha Raja, Arun.
Police: What programme was organised on February 9 at JNU by you and your political party from 3pm to 8.30pm?
Kanhaiya: No programme was organised by me or my party on that day and we don’t support any such programme.
Police: The cultural evening poster which has been shown by you bears the names of Anirban… Umar…? Whether they are JNU students or otherwise?
Kanhaiya: No one is from my party and yes, they are JNU students.
Police: As per video footage dated February 9, you are seen in the procession along with Umar Khalid… Ashutosh… Aparajitha Raja… Anant Prakash… Anirban Bhattacharya. Among these, who are related to your party?
Kanhaiya: Only Aparajitha Raja is a member of my party AISF.
Police: Did you make any efforts or take any steps to stop unlawful activity by the said students raising anti-national slogans?
Kanhaiya: I was not present at that time. I was not part of the programme which happened at Sabarmati. But being president of the students’ union, I had to take part to stop the fight and clashes on the road which goes from Sabarmati dhaba to Ganga dhaba. I appealed to the guard to stop the fight and also appealed to the students not to clash with each other. During this, no anti-national sloganeering happened.
Police: Did you inform the police, being president of JNUSU, in advance so that clashes could have been avoided?
Kanhaiya: When we reached (the spot), there were police present at both Sabarmati and Ganga dhaba.
Police: Did you inform the JNU administration or the security staff of JNU to stop anti-national activity?
Kanhaiya: I was not aware about any such incident.
Umar Khalid at JNU on Monday. Picture by Prem Singh
Police: Is it correct that the posters in respect of the cultural programme dated February 9 against judicial killing of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat were pasted on the JNU campus?
Police: Who are the persons/groups who are supporting Khalid… Anirban…?
Kanhaiya: They are students of JNU but I don’t know other details.
Police: Should such activities be allowed on the JNU campus?
Police: Who are the persons/groups financing such a programme?
Kanhaiya: I don’t know.
Police: You are a part of the illegal/unlawful activities on the February 9 cultural programme held in JNU in the evening as shown in the footage. What do have to say?
Kanhaiya: On February 9, I was sleeping during the daytime and I woke up at 5pm. After freshening up, I came out of my hostel room to have tea and snacks. Outside the hostel, some students were saying that members of the ABVP group had blocked a road near Sabarmati hostel when another group of students were carrying out some cultural programme. The ABVP members had blocked the road, which was likely to lead to clashes between two groups. It could have become violent and any time a fight could have erupted.
Holding a paratha in my hand, I, along with a few students, reached Sabarmati hostel on bikes. I saw a police PCR van, policemen and security guards in huge numbers. On one side were ABVP members shouting slogans. I stopped there, and then I saw that another group of students were taking out a march shouting slogans.
The two groups started abusing each other, the clash started, each hitting the other. I intervened and tried to stop the fight, making a human chain between both the groups. I tried to stop both the groups from indulging in fighting. The other group again started marching towards Ganga dhaba and the ABVP tried to stop them. This continued till both the groups reached Ganga dhaba where police were deployed in huge numbers.
After police intervention, the groups were separated but they started shouting slogans against each other. But no anti-national sloganeering took place at Ganga dhaba. I tried to pacify both the groups. Then I addressed them and gave a speech condemning the entire episode. After my speech ended, both the groups, after a few minutes, dispersed.
Police: Why did you not remove the posters of the cultural evening dated February 9, which was pasted on the JNU campus, you being president of JNUSU?
Kanhaiya: I was not informed, nor was I aware about it.
Police: No doubt that freedom of speech and reasonable space in the university is a fundamental right but raising anti-national slogans and supporting the anti-national group is gross misuse of fundamental rights given to you by the Constitution of India. What do you say?
Kanhaiya: Yes, I agree with these points.
-The Telegraph Calcutta