JNU panel upholds punishment given to Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid in sedition row
Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid were among the four students punished in connection with the JNU campus event against Afzal Guru’s hanging during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised.
The Jawaharlal Nehru University appeals’ committee has upheld the fine of ~10,000 imp-osed on former students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar and rustication of Umar Khalid for one semester in connection with an event on campus two years ago where anti-national slogans were allegedly raised.
JNU vice-chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar formed a four-member panel in June 2016 to hear appeals of students found guilty of indiscipline by a high-level enquiry committee (HLEC) in connection with February 9, 2016 event against the hanging of the 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. There were allegations that anti-national slogans were raised at the event.
Kumar, Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya were arrested and later released on bail in a sedition case. As many as 21 JNU students were slapped with punishment ranging from rustication and hostel debarment to financial penalties on the basis of the probe by the HLEC, which found them guilty of breach of discipline.
The students had approached the Delhi high court, which stayed action against them until their appeals had been decided on by an appellate authority. Following this, the VC had formed the appeals committee.
It couldn’t be immediately confirmed if the punishment given to the remaining 19 students was upheld or not and if any student’s punishment had been increased or decreased. However, people familiar with the development said the punishment awarded to some students had been reduced.
Kumar was not available for comment. Khalid said, “I will challenge the order of the university in the court. Next semester, I won’t even be a student of the university.”
The VC, registrar, rector and proctor did not respond to calls and text message seeking their comment on the matter. An official confirmed that a communication on the final punishment awarded to the students had been issued to the students and their centre heads on Thursday morning. Both Kumar and Khalid are due to submit their PhD theses by end of this month. But as Khalid is to be rusticated for a semester, it is not clear if he will be allowed to submit his thesis.
“I have received communication from the proctor’s office but I cannot comment on whether he will be allowed to submit his PhD or not till I have read the exact order,” said Umesh Ashok Kadam, dean of students.
The JNU students’ union termed the move “gross misuse of administrative power”.
“Till today, even after two years the Delhi police has not been able to file charge sheet against JNU students. The HLEC punishments are nothing but political conspiracy by the JNU administration, flouting all norms of conducting a free and fair inquiry,” the union said.
It also said it will take recourse to all legal-political remedies to overturn the order.