JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya walked out of Tihar jail today, over three weeks after their arrest on sedition charges in connection with a controversial event at the university where anti-national slogans were allegedly raised.
They were greeted outside the Tihar jail by a group of JNU students.
“Both Umar and Anirban were released from jail number 3 around 8:30 PM,” a Tihar jail official said.
They were released hours after a city court granted them interim bail for six months on ground of parity with JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar.
Umar and Anirban had surrendered before police on the night of February 23 and they were subsequently arrested in connection with the sedition charge.
The two students were among the five students who, along with Kanhaiya, were charged with shouting anti-national slogans at an event on February 9 organised in the university campus to protest the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
Kanhaiya, who was also charged with sedition, was granted bail earlier this month.
Granting bail to Umar and Anirban, the court observed that the “role attributed” to Kanhaiya does not appear to be different from the allegations levelled against these two accused.
The court also directed Umar and Anirban not to leave Delhi without its permission during the period of interim bail and to make themselves available before the investigating officer as and when required for the purpose of the probe.
The students’ arrest was seen as an attack on the university by its teachers, students and alumni who were supported by students from across the country as well as international scholars including Noam Chomski and Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk among others.
Almost all the Opposition parties had come down hard on the BJP-led NDA government accusing it of muffling free speech and trying to impose RSS-backed ideology. Kanhaiya’s arrest had also triggered a debate on nationalism.