JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar said on Tuesday a panel that fined him Rs 10,000 over a controversial event at the university was “casteist”, adding he would burn its report.
“The high-level inquiry committee is casteist. We don’t believe the committee nor the penalties imposed, which is why we will burn the report,” Kumar said. “The people targeted aren’t being given a chance to express their stand,” he added.
“Since this is subjudice, what is the hurry? Also the committee report said outsiders raised slogans, then why punish the insiders? VC was on leave and on his return first thing he did was this, but he is not addressing hostel issues, OBC reservation, deprivation point. This administration is running from phone calls coming from outside.”
The committee had also rusticated Jawaharlal Nehru university students Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya and Mujeeb Gatto over the February 9 event on Kashmir. Khalid and Bhatacharya will lose a semester of their academic session while Gatto has been suspended for two semesters.
The action comes after a probe panel set up by the Jawaharlal Nehru University found them guilty of “misconduct” and “indiscipline”.
Khalid, Bhattacharya and Gatto were found guilty of staging a protest demonstration under the pretext of holding a poetry reading of “A Country Without a Post Office”, the chief proctor said. Khalid was also fined Rs 20,000, the order said.
“We have decided that none of the students will pay the fine or vacate their hostels. We demand that the university administration withdraw these orders as we have maintained right from the beginning that we do not have faith in this inquiry panel and it should be reconstituted,” JNUSU vice-president Shehla Rashid Shora said.
“We will begin an indefinite hunger strike from tomorrow (Wednesday) after staging a protest march from the university’s Ganga dhaba to administration block. The decision has been well-timed by the university officials to avoid any protests as summer break is about to begin but we will not bow down and continue our fight,” she added.
On Monday, Khalid and Bhattacharya said the decision to rusticate them was “unacceptable” and termed as “farce” the inquiry by the high-level committee even as the students’ union threatened a countrywide campaign on the matter.
“JNUSU rejects the punishment handed down by the administration on the basis of a farcical committee!” Kanhaiya had tweeted.
The February 9 event led to the arrests of Kumar, Khalid and Bhattacharya on sedition charges after it was alleged that participants at the event shouted anti-national slogans.
The Delhi Police repeatedly claimed they had evidence against Kumar and the other students but failed to produce it in court, leading to their release from jail on bail.