Defiant JNU students who have been punished in connection with a controversial event on campus today asserted they will not pay fine and vacate hostels as ordered by the university and will go on an indefinite hunger strike from tomorrow demanding withdrawal of orders.
“We have rejected the so called high-level enquiry committee right from the day it was set up as an undemocratic and biased one so there is no point accepting the punishment meted out to us on basis of its findings,” JNU students union president Kanhaiya Kumar told reporters here.
Kanhaiya, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya were arrested on charges of sedition in February in connection with an event against hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised. They are now out on bail.
The university yesterday rusticated Umar for one semester, Kashmiri student Mujeeb Gattoo for two semesters and Anirban till July 15. As per decision, Bhattacharya has been barred from pursuing any course in JNU for next 5 years. Kanhaiya has been penalised with Rs 10,000.
13 other students have been let off with varied fines. The campus has been made out of bounds for two former students — Banojyotsana Lahiri and Draupadi — while hostel facilities of Ashutosh Kumar and Komal Mohite have been withdrawn for a year and till July 21 respectively.
“We have decided that none of the students will pay the fine or vacate their hostels. We demand that the university administration withdraws these orders as we have maintained right from the beginning that we do not have faith in this enquiry panel and it should be reconstituted,” JNUSU Vice President Shehla Rashid Shora said.
“We will begin an indefinite hunger strike from tomorrow after staging a protest march from varsity’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.