At the centre of it all are two men - MLA Jignesh Mevani and JNU student leader Umar Khalid - who were supposed to speak at the All India Students Summit, organised by the student union Chatra Bharti. Both Mevani and Khalid have been in the public spotlight after they made allegedly provocative speeches at Bhima-Koregaon on December 31, just days before riots broke out there.
In light of the violent clashes, the Juhu police issued a notice to Chatra Bharti under section 149 of the CrPC, denying permission for the event. According to the students, the programme was planned in advance and they had all the permissions, but the police cancelled the event just minutes before it was to begin.
There was major commotion outside Bhaidas Hall in Vile Parle, where the event was to be held. Upset students decided to start the programme on the streets, as a form of protest, but the police cracked down and detained some of them. This enraged the students further and they staged an agitation outside Juhu police station. The police detained more, picking up a total of 112 protesters, including student leaders Richa Singh from Allahabad University and Pradip Nerwal from JNU. Mevani and Khalid were not present at the spot.
"They are both at a secure place in the city. We will hold the exact same programme online on January 10, and they will address the students then," said Sachin Bansode from Chatra Bharti.
Sagar Bhalerao, an organiser, added, "There was no doubt of permission, as everything was planned well in advance. It isn't like the list of speakers was prepared just then. All the speakers had been confirmed since the beginning, and everyone was expecting a good event on students' issues. It was a shock for all of us when the police stopped us from going ahead with it."
DCP Sachin Patil (PRO) said, "Permission was not granted for the programme, and we have not changed our position on that." Sunil Ghosalkar, senior inspector of Juhu police station, said, "As many as 112 people were detained by the Juhu police. All were allowed to leave by evening."
The Pune city police filed an FIR against Mevani and Khalid for making allegedly provocative speeches at Bhima-Koregoan. The duo was charged under sections 153(A), 505, and 117 of the Indian Penal Code. ACP (South Region) Ravindra Sengaonkar said, "Based on footage of the speech, our team registered the case. After consulting our legal expert, we will arrest the duo."
- Chaitraly Deshmukh
No. of students detained