The students’ union at Delhi’s Jawahalal Nehru University is likely to seek more time from the chief proctor to reply to showcause notices sent to 21 students, including president Kanhaiya Kumar and general secretary Rama Naga, as the deadline ended at 5pm Wednesday.
On Monday, the university administration had issued showcause notices to 21 students after a high-level inquiry committee submitted its report and recommendations on a February 9 event where anti-national slogans were allegedly shouted.
“We will seek more time from proctor as we have not yet collected the report. We were all busy with the march on Tuesday, which they knew about and yet gave us only 48 hours to respond. JNUSU will hold a council meeting today to take a stand on the report of the committee,” Naga told HT.
The students who have been served the notices are at the centre of a nationwide debate on free speech. Kumar, Naga and their fellow students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattarcharya have been charged with sedition for allegedly organising the February 9 event to commemorate 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
But the notices have triggered controversy. Some students who have received the notice are still contemplating about their reply and have sought suggestions from their teachers.
“The notice is so vague and there no specific charges. I am confused as to what to reply. I am just going to meet my professors and friends to discuss this with them,” said a student on condition of anonymity.
Based on the reply given by each student the chief proctor will decide about the quantum of punishment given to them.
“A final decision on what punishment to give to each student will be taken based on the recommendation of the inquiry committee and the reply given by the students,” sources from the proctor office said.
Sources said that the recommendation given by the committee varies from imposing fines to rusticating students.