Supreme Court to hear Kanhaiya Kumar's bail plea today

Kanhaiya Kumar
Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar, arrested on sedition charges, petitioned the Supreme Court on Thursday for bail. It will be heard on Friday.

His petition was mentioned before a bench of judges J Chelameswar and A M Sapre by senior advocate Soli J Sorabjee and Raju Ramachandran.

Protests on the arrest of Kumar were taken out in several cities of the country, including here. A number of bodies, including Left and Congress affiliated student unions, carried out a march in the heart of Delhi, an estimated 15,000 people taking part.

JNU students rejected an appeal by university Vice-Chancellor Jagdesh Kumar to reconsider their march to Jantar Mantar, a traditional protest venue, for "safety" reasons. The march demanded his immediate release.

The city police arrested O P Sharma, a Bharatiya Janata Party member of the city's legislative assembly, for assaulting students at the Patiala House courts on Monday. Sharma was released on bail soon after and complained of "media trial".

In a related development, all central universities have been instructed to fly the national flag on a 207-ft high mast at a prominent place in their campuses, by the Union human resource development ministry.

Some farmers' bodies have planned a march on Wednesday, to protest "anti-farmer" policies of the government at the Centre. And, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its affiliates have also planned a march over the weekend in Delhi.

Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Thursday condemned the attack on journalists in Delhi's Patiala House courts. Paswan said he had sympathy for the arrested JNU student leader but didn't want to comment on the arrest. Adding, however, that ideological debate and discussion among students was vital in educational institutions, if within the limit of the Constitution.

The Bar Council of India has said lawyers who were part of the violence at Patiala House might have their licenses revoked if found guilty. Its chairman, Manan Kumar, said he was apologising to journalists and Kanhaiya Kumar.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and city chief minister Arvind Kejriwal met President Pranab Mukherjee to raise the issue of the attack on journalists and arrest of Kumar. Gandhi said the RSS was trying to impose its "flawed" and "dead" ideology on students and his party wouldn't allow it.

BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma accused the Congress of "crying over the death of terrorists". He said Gandhi's meeting with Mukherjee and his assertion that nationalism ran in his blood was meant to "defend" himself after his stand on the issue "sparked anger in the country".

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