The sedition charge against 14 Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) students has been dropped, the police said today, adding there was no evidence to support the allegation that anti-India or pro-Pakistan slogans were raised in the campus last week. A senior police official told the news agency PTI that the charge was dropped three days back.
A local BJP leader, Mukesh Kumar Lodi, claimed in his complaint to the police last week that he and his associates were shot at and assaulted by AMU students outside the campus main gate because their motorcycles sported BJP stickers. He also accused the students of shouting slogans favouring Pakistan over India in the course of the violence.
University students also had a heated argument with Republic Channel's crew after they tried to shoot a segment inside the campus allegedly in violation of institution regulations. AMU students have accused the mediapersons of trying to shoot inside the campus without obtaining requisite permissions, and misbehaving with campus security personnel and university officials upon being advised against doing so.
The officer today added there was no videographic proof or any other evidence "to support the claim that anti-India or pro-Pakistan slogans were raised by the students during the clash between two student groups at University Circle on February 12".
The clashes had snowballed into a major political controversy after sedition charges were slapped against the students.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was outraged at the use of sedition charges against students.
"Slapping sedition laws against AMU students for arguing with the Republic TV crew is ridiculous. The law can be invoked only when any individual tries to excite dissatisfaction towards the centre. Since when did R-TV start representing the government?" she asked.
Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav today said the charges were used as "weapon against students".
"While the charges against the AMU students have been withdrawn, it is clear that the BJP continues to be defined by the politics of fear and division," he was quoted by the news agency PTI.
With inputs from PTI
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