An Iranian research scholar, from the London School of Economics on an official visit to Jawaharlal Nehru University, was detained after he was found clicking photographs near the Israeli embassy here on Wednesday and questioned by the Intelligence Bureau and the Delhi Police. Refuting the allegation of harassment, the police said the scholar was not ill-treated and was released after verification of his antecedents.
JNU Students’ Union general secretary Shakeel Anjum on Thursday said the Iranian national was here on an official invitation to participate in an international seminar organised by the university.
“On Wednesday morning, he went to the office of Centre de Sciences Humaines located opposite the Israeli embassy for some academic discussion. On his way back, like any other tourist he clicked a photograph to capture the greenery along the road. He did not know that the embassy was located on the other side of the road. Immediately, some officials from the embassy confronted him and started interrogating him. After getting to know from his passport that he was an Iranian national, they called up the police,” he said.
The scholar was taken to the Tughlaq Road police station where he was grilled for several hours. The police questioned him regarding the people he met at CSH and also about a hand-drawn road map, showing locations of metro stations and other places he wanted to visit, found on his person.
Mr. Anjum said: “They did not let him inform his friends about the detention. After three hours, some scholars at the CSH, one of them a JNU student, reached the station to help him. A JNU faculty member also reached there later. Despite this, the police interrogated him for several hours. He was allowed to come to the guesthouse at JNU around 9 p.m.”
The scholar was again picked up around midnight allegedly by the police and an IB official from Aravalli guesthouse inside the university campus. “He was taken to the nearby Vasant Kunj police station and again questioned by the IB official. Before the interrogation started, he somehow managed to inform some seminar guests about his detention. A faculty member, JNUSU office-bearers and students then went to the station where the police informed them that they had picked him up from the campus after taking permission of the JNU chief security officer. But neither was the chief security officer present, nor was it possible to contact him,” said Mr. Anjum.
The JNUSU office-bearers also informed the university authorities about the matter. According to him, “It appeared they had no clue about the episode and they could not even contact the chief security officer who had apparently given permission. After the intervention, he was allowed to leave around 1.30 a.m..”