JNU sedition controversy: when will the outrage end?

JNU sedition controversy
The protests and hunger strikes have continued on the JNU campus to this day.

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Students’ Union President Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, along with other students started their hunger strike on April 27 night demanding revocation of punitive action against them by the varsity. The students said they rejected the findings and recommendations of the high-level inquiry committee that probed the February 9 event on campus against hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised. They are out on bail now.

The students took out a march late night on April 27 from Ganga Dhaba to administration block against the action. While Kanhaiya has been slapped with a penalty of Rs 10,000 on grounds of “indiscipline and misconduct”, Umar, Anirban and Kashmiri student Mujeeb Gatoo have been rusticated for varied durations. What else? Fourteen students have been imposed the financial penalty, hostel facilities of two students have been withdrawn and the university has declared the campus out of bounds for two former students.

However, the university officials maintained that the decision has been taken after a thorough investigation by a five-member probe panel and are in accordance with varsity norms. The JNU infinite hunger strike started on April 12, witnessing Ketone counts going up, weight going down and morale staying miles high. Media fatigue shows that crusading news anchors are no match for hunger striking students when it comes to stamina, and one can also call it courage. The university authorities, the JNU VC and his gang, the government, the RSS-ABVP, remain what they are- typical authoritative figures.

In the indefinite hunger strike Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students against the punishments meted out by the High-Level Enquiry Committee (HLEC), even the alumni and teachers joined the students to show solidarity and also protest the actions of the administration.

Total 20 students began the hunger strike out of which six have had to withdraw due to deteriorating health conditions. Fourteen students still remain on hunger strike, including JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) general secretary Rama Naga and Umar Khalid, charged with sedition along with JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar and Anirban Bhattacharya. Kumar, who was also on hunger strike, withdrew on the ninth day after his condition deteriorated and he had to be taken to AIIMS. For those still on hunger strike, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels continue to drop and some have been warned of the possibility of contracting jaundice. Two additional students have now joined the hunger strike and JNUSU members say more may join in the coming days.

On May 10, 2016, Umar and Anirban move court against their rustication, the court asks JNU administration to explain the decision for their expulsion and submit relevant documents as well as the report of its high-level enquiry committee.

On May 12, 2016, Kanhaiya, others move HC against JNU action. Apart from Kanhaiya, the others who have challenged the order are Ashwati A. Nair, Aishwariya Adhikari, Komal Mohite, Chintu Kumari, Anwesha Chakraborty and two others.

Finally, High Court had to step in the indefinite hunger strike and has asked Kanhaiya Kumar, President, Students’ Union of Jawahar Lal Nehru University who withdrew on the 9th day, to put an end to the indefinite hunger strike. High Court has assured them that they would surely hear their writ petitions challenging the varsity’s disciplinary action only if they end the agitation. In an undertaking the High court took from Kumar, it has been affirmed that he will allow the university to function properly and there will not be any sort of agitation.

Only, the strong backbone of JNUSU, that is, it’s President Kanhaiya Kumar can articulate to the students sitting on hunger strike since last 16 days to put an end, if he has a bit of faith in the Indian judiciary. Kanhaiya is an all rounder and if he speaks to the students, they will abide by him and will end their strike. The matter has been adjourned by the court until the students’ leader communicates further over the issue.

The whole episode of JNU and the issues related to it and raised during it, have done nothing but damage to the country as whole and not to mention the students on campus, whilst the dirty politicians laugh at what they have achieved from this row.

Read more: JNU Episode; India’s growing democratic paralysis

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