St Stephen’s College principal Valson Thampu on Tuesday suspended Devansh Mehta, the editor and co-founder of Stephen’s Weekly, for nine days.
Devansh’s suspension came a day after he was stripped of the Rai Saheb Banarasi Das Memorial prize.
Students of the college were outraged by the suspension and on Wednesday decided to collectively protest against the decision.
With the corridors and the café of the college are under CCTV surveillance, the students have been holding clandestine meetings at the Kamala Nehru ridge to organize themselves. Most of them are contemplating to boycott the Dismissal Ceremony, scheduled to be held on April 18, if the suspension is not revoked.
The students have decided to write a petition to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to seek justice for Mehta. They want Kejriwal to decline Thampu’s invitation to preside over the Dismissal Ceremony.
“Kejriwal has been a proponent of Swaraj and justice. We want him to see the malpractices taking place in the college and empower us by refusing the invitation,” said a student.
“We know Kejriwal will not share the stage with a man who virulently attacks his students for personal gain”.
Sanjay Rao Ayde, who headed the single-member disciplinary committee, on the other hand said: “This situation would not have come about if Mehta had worked the matter out within the framework of college.”
On the principal’s decision, Ayde said, “The principal has been fair. Just look at the quantum of the punishment given to Mehta; it is only nine days. After a committee found Mehta guilty on two counts, the principal has to administer the right punishment”.
Devansh’s parents said they had been taken aback.
“We know that Devansh is innocent. He is being punished for speaking his mind on the injustice meted out by the principal.”
“We wish that the principal had used better judgment and used his 20 years of experience in dealing with intelligent children in a better way,” they said.
Thampu, in his suspension order, stood by the recommendation of the committee and said: “Devansh Mehta has been found guilty of breaching the discipline of college by a one-man inquiry commission, the report of which has been posted on the college website. He is suspended with immediate effect till April 23, 2015”.
Thampu, despite repeated calls, was not available for a comment.