JNU fight far from over: Students and teachers call inquiry a 'farce'

The fight inside the countries premiere institution, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), over the 9 February events — when anti-national slogans were allegedly raised inside the campus - seems to be far from over, as the JNU Students Union is preparing for a fresh agitation against the university administration decision to rusticate three students and impose fine on the others.

The university administration rusticated three students on Monday, including Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, while the president Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU), Kanhaiya Kumar, was fined Rs 10,000, Bhattacharya was rusticated till 15 July and barred from the university from July 25 for five years.

Now, the JNSU students Union is planning to go for fresh protests and review the “existing mode of protests’ and change the strategy for fighting against the decision, which they call, a "sheer vendetta and a biased inquiry.”

“We will start a fast unto death in next few days. We are burning copies of the report in front of the administrative block today (Tuesday), and try to review the mode of the protest. This will also include political mobilization,” JNU students' union vice president, Shehla Rashid Shora, told Firstpost.

This political mobilization, she said, would also include launching a countrywide campaign to expose the “government's anti-student character.”

JNU students Umar Khalid (left) and Anirban Bhattacharya. PTI

JNU students Umar Khalid (left) and Anirban Bhattacharya. PTI

A High-Level Enquiry Committee (HLEC) set up by the University to probe the events of 9 February had submitted its final report to JNU authorities on March 11, but the university authorities, according to sources, were “not sure about quantum of the punishment.”

The student’s Union said on Tuesday they will burn the copy of the report as a way of symbolic protest against the “anti-democratic and one-sided inquiry.”

“Why did they take so much time to come to this decision? They wanted to derail the movement that had caught the attention of nations. That was the only motive,” Said Rakeeb, a student of International Politics, in the university.

Rakeeb said that everyone was sure that the “probe” by the university administration was never going to be “fair and just.”

“We will oppose this. Most of the students who have been punished by the university belong to Dalit, Muslim and backward castes," he said.

Students say the university was not even ready to change or add extra members to the committee when questions were raised over its composition.

“How can you expect decision of a committee to be fair, when its composition was questioned,” Ritika, a PhD Student told Firstpost. The university, in February, had ruled out any change in the composition High-Level Enquiry Committee, saying it has "full faith" in the three-member panel.

The teachers had said that composition of the committee was “unacceptable to them as its scope was limited,” the students who were asked to appear before the panel have refused to participate in the inquiry citing "unjust" suspension of eight students.

“This is clearly against the democratic culture of the university. We will take this fight forward for the reason because it is about future and not just of this institution but also about institutions across the country. And this all is happening because of the outside interference, not only here but through the country,” Ashutosh, an MPhil student, told Firstpost.

"A farce is what this inquiry has been from day one, made to witch-hunt and punish students by hook or crook. Do we need to remind you, Mr Jagdish Kumar (JNU VC) that unlike you the students and teachers of this campus are not pliant stooges of the RSS," Umar Khalid wrote on his Facebook page.

Two students, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya are likely to lose a semester while another student Mujeeb Gattoo, a Kashmiri, has been suspended for two semesters, an order from the university proctor said. Khalid has been fined Rs 20,000 while ten others were also fined varying amounts, including one from the ABVP on charges of obstructing traffic in the campus.

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Updated Date: Apr 26, 2016 15:28:48 IST

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