UP cops drop sedition charge against students booked over campus protest

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Ayodhya, Dec 28 (PTI): Police on Monday dropped the sedition charge against six students booked after they held a protest on the campus of a private college, demanding student union elections.

The FIR, which included the sedition charge, was lodged at Ayodhya Kotwali police station Saturday after a complaint by Saket Degree College principal N D Pandey. He claimed that the protesters were raising “anti-national” slogans like “Azaadi leke rahenge'.

The students, however, denied the allegation, saying they were demanding 'azaadi” (freedom)' from a corrupt principal at Wednesday’s demonstration.

On Monday, police said they found nothing during the investigation to support the sedition charge.

Ayodhya Deputy Superintendent of Police R K Rai said police had registered a sedition case under section 124A of the Indian Penal Code based on the complaint filed by the principal.

But they found no evidence of any “anti-national slogans” during their investigation, he added.

“We have dropped the sedition charges against all six students booked,” he told PTI, adding that the other sections mentioned in the FIR remain.

These include sections related to rioting, wrongful confinement, criminal intimidation, mischief by fire or explosive substance and causing hurt to deter a public servant from duty.

Reacting to the development, Pandey said, “Dropping the sedition charge was a decision by the police. I have nothing to say.' Earlier, he had said the students wanted to get ‘azaadi’ through violence. “It is my duty to protect the motherland and I have filed a complaint against the students,” he had then told PTI.

But Abhas Krishna Yadav, a former student union president, said the students were raising 'azaadi” slogans as they were demanding freedom from “a corrupt principal and an anti-student system” at the college.

Yadav, who studies at the college, said the protesters wanted student union elections to be held.

The students booked on the principal’s complaint are Sumit Tiwari, Shesh Narayan Pandey, Imran Hashmi, Satvik Pandey, Mohit Yadav and Manoj Mishra. PTI CORR ANB ASH ASH