Police from India’s capital city New Delhi reportedly orchestrated raids in several parts of the country Wednesday, in search of students from one of the country’s top universities who are alleged to have shouted antinational slogans at an event last week.
The police say they have identified several suspects from Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and are carrying out searches across five states, reports Indian broadcaster NDTV.
The university’s student president, Kanhaiya Kumar, was arrested last Friday and charged under a colonial-era sedition law over an event to commemorate the hanging of Afzal Guru — a terrorist convict alleged to have masterminded attacks on India’s Parliament in 2001. His arrest came soon after India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh termed the event “antinational” and sparked wide protests from the JNU fraternity and civil-society activists, who say the Indian government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is quashing dissent and free speech.
Kumar’s hearing at a court in New Delhi saw violence for a second consecutive day, with rival groups of lawyers clashing and a journalist alleging he was beaten up.
The court on Wednesday took precautions in an attempt to prevent a repeat of the previous day’s events — where JNU students, academics and reporters covering the trial were assaulted and threatened by a mob dressed in lawyers’ attire — by restricting public entry into its premises during the hearing.