Plea filed in Delhi High Court to preserve WhatsApp data, CCTV footage on Jan 5 JNU violence

The matter is likely to be taken up for hearing in the coming week.
Plea filed in Delhi High Court to preserve WhatsApp data, CCTV footage on Jan 5 JNU violence

A petition has been filed before the Delhi High Court seeking a direction to Delhi Police, Delhi Government, WhatApp and Google to preserve 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 petition also prays for directions to ensure free and fair investigation in the FIR registered by the Delhi Police in connection with the January 5 violence.

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

The petition filed through Advocates Maanav Kumar, Abhik Chimni and Roshini Namboodiry, informs that the Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) had called for a peaceful assembly of teachers at Sabarmati T-Point in the JNU campus on January 5 at 4 pm. When this meeting concluded at about 6.30pm, the teachers were informed that a mob of outsiders, some with masks and carrying rods and lathis and other deadly weapons were seen on the campus around Periyar Hostel.

The Petitioners have claimed that the entire attack was premeditated and coordinated.

"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 inform about the existence of a WhatsApp group Unity Against Left which was created with the purpose of inciting hate and violence against the teachers, staff, and students of JNU.

Another example of a similar WhatsApp group which was used to plan acts of aggression and infiltration of outside people into JNU was “Friends of RSS”, it is added.

In view of the crimes committed by the conspirators by planning and coordinating amongst themselves by misusing WhatsApp, the Petitioners contend that it was necessary to direct the Delhi Police to obtain the relevant evidence from WhatsApp in accordance with its applicable policies.

The Petitioners have also sought to retrieve and preserve the CCTV footage which is a crucial evidence for a fair investigation.

The matter is likely to be taken up for hearing in the coming week

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