Charges politically motivated, BJP scared for 2019 polls: Mevani

Khalid, who had been charged with sedition along with Kanhaiya Kumar in 2016, was to speak at noon in the 35th edition of the annual all-India summit organised by Chhatra Bharati Vidyarthi at Bhaidas Hall in Vile Parle (W) on Thursday, and Mevani at the concluding ceremony. The police also detained few students and event organisers who protested the cancellation of the event.

Soon after hundreds of students were detained by the Mumbai Police, Sachin Bansode, organizer of the Chatra Bharti Sammelan told Outlook, "We were given the notice in the morning, whereas we have been in touch with the Juhu Police regularly". The complaint was later forwarded to Vishrambag police station, under whose jurisdiction the Elgaar Parishad was held in Pune to mark the 200th year of Battle of Bhima Koregaon.

They said that the police cited the controversy surrounding the two leaders for denying permission to the event. Apart from Mevani, JNU student leader Umar Khalid was also mentioned in the complaint. According to a complaint filed by a Pune resident, their "provocative" speeches were aimed at creating disharmony and rift between the communities, which led to violence at Bhima Koregaon on January 1.

The FIR in Pune refers to speeches where Mevani allegedly called for "street fights" to end "the rule of one section of people over others", and Khalid allegedly said that "it is time for retaliation".

In Mumbai, Section 149 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which gives the police the power to prevent cognisable offences, was invoked on the All India Students Summit. "We wanted to present our views, but the BJP government feels threatened by students", Richa Singh said. However, the police insisted, several students were beaten and sustained injuries. However, the clashes between the two groups marred the celebrations.

"Umar Khalid and Jignesh Mevani have been invited at this event here, this had been fixed earlier", said Sagar Bhalerao of the Chhatra Bharati.

Bikkad and Dhond, both locals, approached the Deccan Gymkhana police station with an application and demanded the registration of a case against Mevani and Khalid for allegedly promoting enmity between different communities.

Vanessa Coleman

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