Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) Vice President Shehla Rashid Shora has written to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) seeking its intervention in ensuring safety of the family of Umar Khalid, who is being searched in connection with a sedition case.
"Whether Umar, or the other five students, are indeed guilty of sedition or not will be decided through a legal process. However, the ongoing irresponsible media trial will put his life in extreme jeopardy and he may become a victim of a lynch mob, we fear.
"Also, the judicial process may become subverted by the manufactured public anger against him. Unless proven guilty, he is an innocent citizen of this country and must be accrued due dignity. JNUSU appeals to the NHRC to step in urgently and ensure safety of his family and the conditions for a fair trial to proceed," Shora said in the letter.
"We are confident that the charges will not stand in a court of law as we have full faith in the judiciary. However, eight students, including the six charged with sedition, have also been debarred from all academic activity even before any enquiry process could begin. Most of these students are from marginalised communities such as Muslim, Dalit, OBC, etc.
"They come from extremely humble backgrounds and two of them are girls, who may not be allowed to continue their studies, if sent back from JNU. They are being targeted because they have been campaigning against commercialisation of education and atrocities on Dalits," she said.
Jawaharlal Nehru University is caught in a row over an event on the campus against hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal guru during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised.
Police had last week named five students, including Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya and Ashutosh, alleging they were part of the event.
JNU Students Union president Kahnaiya Kumar was arrested on sedition charges on February 12, triggering widespread outrage among students, academicians and non-BJP political parties.