Delhi high court asks WhatsApp, Google to provide information on campus violence to cops.
New Delhi: The Delhi Police’s crime branch on Tuesday questioned two more suspects in connection with the January 5 violence in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus. Sucheta Talukdar and Priya Ranjan were questioned for two hours in connection with the attack by a masked mob.
Meanwhile, the Delhi high court asked WhatsApp and Google to preserve and provide information, as per their internal policies, to the police in relation to the campus violence.
Ms Talukdar said: “I gave a one-and-a-half-page long statement to the police. It asked me about the January 5 incident, where I was that day, details of students injured, and whether I could identify anyone else.” She further said: “I was also shown my photo (one that the police had released in the press conference last week).”
According to sources, she told the police that the photo was too blurred. Ranjan, a BA third-year student from School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, said: “I gave a one-page statement to police about my whereabouts on that day.” Apart from the duo, the four persons who were injured in the attack were also examined.
The Forensic Science Laboratory team (cyber) which visited the campus to collect evidence spent the entire day in retrieving footage from the server, a police official said, adding the team will visit the varsity again on Wednesday.
Apart from the duo, the police will also be questioning some of the people who were injured in the attack. Those who made PCR calls on the day of the violence will also be questioned.
Earlier, the police had questioned three students, including JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) president Aishe Ghosh.
Ms Ghosh, Ms Talukdar, Ms Ranjan, Dolan Samanta, Vhaskar Vijay Mech, Chunchun Kumar (a JNU alumnus), and Pankaj Mishra have been named as suspects.
The crime branch is likely to seek information about who initiated the violence, which took place in two separate incidents in the Periyar and Sabarmati hostels on January 5.
The police said that Ms Ghosh had been caught on camera as part of the group that attacked Periyar hostel.
Additionally, the police has made three sets of questions regarding the incidents of vandalism on January 3 and 4.
Meanwhile, the Delhi high court also asked the police to summon witnesses “at the earliest” and seize the phones of the members of two WhatsApp chat groups on which the January 5 violence was allegedly coordinated.
Directions were also issued to the JNU administration and the State Bank of India branch inside the campus to preserve and provide at the earliest the CCTV footage of the violence as already requested by the police.
With the directions, the court disposed of a plea filed by JNU professors Ameet Parameswaran, Atul Sood, and Shukla Vinayak Sawant seeking directions to the Delhi government and the police that data, CCTV footage, and other evidence relating to the January 5 violence in the varsity campus be preserved.
In the arguments prior to passing of the order, Google told the court that if the police provides it with the user information, including email IDs, of the members of the two WhatsApp groups—Unity Against Left and Friends of RSS — then it can find out whether the chat histories are backed up on Google Drive. If yes, the same can be preserved and provided to the investigating agency. It also told the court that it “will protect whatever is there on our system as on date.”
On the other hand, WhatsApp told the court that once a chat is delivered to a person, it is no longer stored on its servers due to the “end-to-end encryption” provided on its app. It claimed the chats would only be available on the recipient and sender’s phones.