Students’ protest at Ayodhya College: Sedition charge dropped, probe to continue, say police

Six students were booked for sedition after the college principal lodged a complaint accusing them of raising “anti-national slogans calling (for) azadi”.

The sedition charge invoked against six persons, including students of government-run K S Saket Degree College in Ayodhya district, has been dropped, police said on Monday, adding that their investigation into other charges, including rioting and criminal intimidation, would continue.

The six were booked for sedition after the college principal lodged a complaint accusing them of raising “anti-national slogans calling (for) azadi”.

The students said they were only protesting against the non-conduct of union elections at the college, and their slogans were directed at the principal and the chief proctor.

“No evidence was found against the students for the sedition charge, and hence it has been dropped. The investigation will continue into the other charges,” Inspector (Ayodhya Police Station) Ashutosh Mishra said on Monday.

An FIR was lodged against the six — Sumit Tewari, Shesh Narayan Pandey, Imran Hashmi, Satwik Pandey, Mohit Yadav and Manoj Mishra — on December 18 under IPC Sections 124-A (sedition), 147 (rioting) and 506 (criminal intimidation), apart from charges of obstructing public servants.
Speaking to The Indian Express on Sunday, the college principal, N D Pandey had said, “Students had raised anti-national slogans that are raised at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi… that they will fight for azadi (freedom). What kind of azadi do they want? They wanted elections, we are still in the process of admissions. How can elections be held?”

Linking the matter to the Ram temple, Pandey added. “This is such a sensitive place in Ayodhya, barely 500 metres from the Janmabhoomi. We need to look out for anti-national activities.”

Started in 1991, K S Saket College has around 10,000 students.

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