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Magistrate agrees that cops lock up 'seditioning' DU prof Geelani for 2-day interrogation

A court here on Tuesday sent, to two days police custody, former Delhi University (DU) professor SAR Geelani, who was arrested on charges of sedition for allegedly organising an event at the Press Club of India to mark the death anniversary of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.

Delhi Police told Metropolitan Magistrate Harvinder Singh that Geelani’s custody was required to ascertain identification of other people present at the event and know about the booking transaction of the hall.

Geelani’s defence counsel Satish Tamta told court that no fruitful purpose would be served by keeping him in custody as he has nothing to reveal to police.

The court allowed Delhi Police to quiz him for two days.

Most ordinary interpretations of the non-bailable crime of sedition requires there to be an incitement to violence.

Police registered a first information report (FIR) on 10 February under sections dealing with sedition and criminal conspiracy over raising slogans by Kashmiri students in the club premises the same day to protest Afzal Guru’s execution.

The FIR was filed on the basis of a complaint made by the club.

Geelani’s arrest comes amid the raging row over the arrest of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar, who was arrested on 12 February on charges of sedition for allegedly raising anti-national slogans at an event organised at the varsity campus on 9 February against the hanging of Afzal Guru.

Police said that they have been analysing over five to six video clippings of both the events organised on the consecutive day on JNU campus and the PCI premises. Separate police teams have been conducting raids at different locations in Delhi and outside the city to arrest those who were also present at both the events.

At the PCI, in which Geelani was present on the dais along with three other speakers, a group allegedly had raised slogans hailing Afzal Guru. Taking suo motu cognizance of the matter, police registered a case against Geelani and other unnamed people.

Police said that Geelani is presumed to be the “main organiser” of the event.

“During initial investigation, we learnt that a hall was booked in the Press Club on the request of Geelani,” a police officer said.

Police have also questioned Delhi University professor Ali Javed, a PCI member, under whose membership number, the hall for the event was booked. Javed was expelled by the PCI following the event.

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