Written to JNU and WhatsApp for preservation of relevant data on JNU violence, Police tells Delhi HC

Written to JNU and WhatsApp for preservation of relevant data on JNU violence, Police tells Delhi HC

The Delhi Police today informed the Delhi High Court that it is taking necessary steps with respect to the preservation of CCTV footage and WhatsApp data concerning the JNU violence that took place on January 5.

Delhi Police Standing Counsel, Rahul Mehra stated that it has written to the JNU administration seeking footage from the 135 CCTV cameras on campus from January 3 to January 6. However, it has not received any response to the request yet, he added.

As far as the two WhatsApp groups on which the attack was allegedly coordinated was concerned, Mehra informed that the Delhi Police has already written to WhatsApp for details.

It was added that the Police has also written to the users of the numbers identified from these groups.

The statement was made before a single judge bench of Justice Brijesh Sethi while hearing a plea seeking preservation all relevant material, data, information and evidence pertaining to the violence that took place at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on January 5 evening.

The writ petition has been preferred by JNU professors, Ameet Parameswaran, Atul Sood, Shukla Vinayak Sawant.

The Court today also issued notice to WhatsApp, Google and Apple Inc in the petition and listed the matter for hearing tomorrow when the counsel for petitioners sought a direction for preservation of all the meta data.

In the petition filed through Advocates Maanav Kumar, Abhik Chimni and Roshini Namboodiry, the petitioners have claimed that the entire attack was premeditated and coordinated.

The petition states,

"Unless the same had been the result of a pre-planned conspiracy, it would not have been possible for a mob in such large numbers, many of whom appear to be outsiders, to enter the JNU campus. The existence of a premeditated and well-organized attack is further clear from the fact that these persons were covering their faces wearing marks, without any proper identification, carrying weapons and so on."

The petitioners further state that a significant amount of data, information, evidence and material pertaining to the violence was communicated through WhatsApp.

Relying on media reports, the Petitioners also informed about the existence of a WhatsApp group Unity Against Left and "Friends of RSS" which were created for planning violence against the teachers, staff, and students of JNU.

The petitioners were represented by Senior Advocates Rebecca John, Akhil Sibal and Gopal Sankaranarayanan.

The matter would be heard next on January 14.

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