January 14, 2019 / 6:54 PM / in 9 days

Indian police charge student leader, nine others, in sedition case

FILE PHOTO: Kanhaiya Kumar, a Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student union leader, gestures as he addresses a meet inside JNU campus in New Delhi, India, March 3, 2016. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/File Photo

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Indian police on Monday charged 10 people, including a prominent former student organizer, with sedition, in a case that activists say is really about freedom of speech.

Kanhaiya Kumar, a former head of the students’ union at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, was arrested in 2016 at a rally to commemorate the anniversary of the execution of a Kashmiri separatist who had been convicted for an attack on India’s parliament.

Kumar’s detention under colonial-era laws led to protests by opposition parties, who accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government of trying to muzzle free speech.

The Delhi High Court later released Kumar, now a member of the Communist Party of India, on bail.

On Monday, the police sent a list of the 10 suspects to a city court which will decide if they will stand trial, the Delhi Police said.

Reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj and Suchitra Mohanty; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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