Delhi: JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar was released from jail on Thursday, three weeks after his arrest on sedition charges.
29-year-old Kumar's was released from the prison at 6:30 PM and accorded a spirited welcome by a group of students and teachers on being handed over to them.
Jubilations at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus which erupted after Kumar was granted bail yesterday by the Delhi High Court acquired a new momentum with the students, agitating since his arrest, taking out a march shouting slogans like "Jai Kanhaiya lal ki".
After his release, Kumar maintained that he never raised any anti-India slogans, asserting truth will prevail, as per PTI.
Kumar was arrested on February 12 in connection with the event to protest the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru on his third death anniversary during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised.
Earlier in the day, a city court issued Kumar's release order after he furnished a bail bond.
Jail officials said the papers for the release of the JNU student leader were received at around 5 PM and he was released about one-and-a-half-hours later.
Five other students Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya, Rama Naga, Anant Prakash and Anirban Bhattacharya were also named by the police in the case.
Umar and Anirban had surrendered before police on the night of February 24 and they were subsequently arrested in connection with the sedition charge.
Police had also questioned twice Ashutosh Kumar, another JNU student.
Apprehending a possible attack on Kumar, Delhi Police resorted to a slew of measures to ensure that he doesn't suffer "even a scratch" while he returns to the JNU campus.
After his release from jail, he stepped inside an SUV which was reportedly arranged by his counsel.
While the car was secretly driven out through the staff quarters in the backyard of the prison complex, three other vehicles, including an ambulance, were used as decoys, even as a posse of media personnel camped outside gate number 4 to see the student leader finally come out of the jail premises.
Kumar and the persons accompanying him were instructed to reach Hari Nagar police station near Tihar jail, from where he was provided with an escort comprising officials of Delhi Police's west district. At one point, the escort team changed and officials of south district finally ensured safety till he reached the varsity's campus, sources said.
Yesterday, the Delhi High Court had granted interim bail for six months to Kumar but had said that the FIR lodged in connection with an on-campus event that led to his arrest on sedition charge suggested it "is a case of raising anti-national slogans which do have the effect of threatening national integrity".
The HC, which had given conditional relief to Kanhaiya, had said he will "not participate actively or passively in any activity which may be termed as anti-national" and told him that as president of JNU students union, he "will make all efforts within his power to control anti-national activities in the campus."
It had also made strong remarks about the slogans allegedly raised by the students, including other accused, saying they cannot claim protection under fundamental right to speech and expression, particularly in view of the fact that the investigation into the case was at a nascent stage.
Further, Justice Pratibha Rani was critical of the slogans raised on February 9 on the JNU campus eulogising Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat, mastermind of hijacking of a passenger airline to Lahore in 1971 who was hanged in 1984.
"The feelings or the protest reflected in the slogans need introspection by the student community whose photographs are available on record holding posters, carrying photographs, of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat," the judge had said while ordering Kanhaiya's release on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 10,000 and a surety of the like amount with a condition that he will not leave the country without the permission of trial court, as per PTI.
Making it clear to Kanhaiya that he will have to cooperate in the ongoing investigation and present himself before the investigators, as and when required, the judge had also considered his family background that his mother was an Anganwadi worker earning a paltry amount of Rs 3,000 on which the entire family survives to fix the bail amount.
(With Agency inputs)