Lawyers who beat up JNU student gleefully own up to brazen assault in video

Published February 23, 2016
A group of lawyers had assaulted JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar (C) as he was brought to the Patiala House Court for a hearing. —AFP
A group of lawyers had assaulted JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar (C) as he was brought to the Patiala House Court for a hearing. —AFP

NEW DELHI: Two lawyers accused of involvement in an attack on student leader Kanhaiya Kumar upon his appearance in the Patiala House courts here last week, have admitted that they beat Kumar for three hours while he was in police custody - in a sting video recorded by India Today.

Kumar, the Jawaharlal Nehru University Student Union (JNUSU) president who was arrested on sedition charges last week for organising an event on Afzal Guru, and journalists were assaulted when police brought the former into court last Wednesday.

Vikram Singh Chauhan, one of the three lawyers who were booked under "easily bailable" charges for the court violence, can be heard bragging about the assault on Kumar while was in custody in the secret video.

"We beat him up so hard that he wet his pants," Chauhan can be heard saying.

Chauhan says they thrashed the student until he uttered "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" — a nationalist slogan praising India.

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In a separate recording, lawyer Yashpal Singh claims he "will not leave him [Kumar] even if i am charged with murder".

"I will even bring a petrol bomb [the next time Kumar is presented in court]," says Singh, adding that he will refuse bail only so he can go to jail and beat Kumar up in his cell.

Singh, who is accompanied in the video clip by Om Sharma, a third lawyer who has already obtained bail, admits: "We beat up journalists, beat up JNU professors ... everyone."

Singh confesses that police "was fully supporting us" when the attack on Kumar took place.

"All i know is that if you live in this country, you will have to talk [in favour of] this country," the lawyer asserts.

The 32-year-old student union leader’s arrest has sparked a major row over freedom of expression in India, where some rights campaigners say the Hindu nationalist government is using the British-era sedition law to clamp down on dissent.

Sedition carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment although convictions are rare.

Kumar denies he was among those chanting anti-India slogans at last Tuesday’s rally to mark the 2013 hanging of Kashmiri activist Afzal Guru over a deadly 2001 attack on the Indian parliament.

The student leader was sent to judicial custody until March 2.

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