The relay hunger strike launched by 11 students of Jawaharlal Nehru University to protest against the administration’s decision to rusticate some Master of Computer Applications students entered its second day on Tuesday.
Of the 11, two students are those who have been rusticated for two years, while four were awarded hostel expulsion for a year. A first-year MCA student has also joined them in the hunger strike.
“We maintain that no ragging has taken place. How can the administration find us guilty without even taking our version into consideration?” asked one of the rusticated students on Tuesday.
“During the proctorial inquiry, only two of the 21 seniors who were summoned, were questioned. The rest were only made to sign. Also, the show-cause notices that were issued were not clear,” alleged some senior students.
“One such notice proclaimed ‘guilty of assembling a group of MCA first semester students with the intention of ragging them’. How can the administration assume what our intention was? And for mere ‘intention’, how can they punish us so severely?” they asked.
JNU had rusticated nine students for two years from the campus for ragging their juniors and expelled ten others from the hostel for a year for failing to report or prevent these ragging incidents.
Sneh Shrivastava, one of the MCA freshers, claimed she and her classmates had gone to the Sabarmati Hostel to discuss about a seminar with their seniors when the anti-ragging squad came checking.
The protesting MCA students have claimed that all their juniors, barring the victim who had filed the complaint with the authorities in the first place, supported them.
On the other hand, the administration is in no mood to relent.
“It is just a pressure tactic. The freshers have been influenced by their seniors. The anti-ragging squad comprises four senior teachers who have a lot of sympathy for students and are aware of the JNU culture. The squad unanimously held that when the members reached the hostel room, the students had been assembled for the motive of ragging,” said Chief Proctor H.B. Bohidar.
“They felt that either there was an intention of ragging or ragging had already taken place. The scenario and the circumstantial evidence that the squad saw was not academic. In response to the show-cause notices also, the students could not explain why they had called the juniors to their room,” he added.
Countering the MCA students’ grievance that the punishment was “very severe”, the Chief Proctor said: “The punishment, is in fact, not severe at all. The Union HRD Ministry’s guidelines call for a severe punishment. There has been no life-long expulsion and students can come back after a period of two years.”
Meanwhile Rector II Ramadhikari Kumar clearly said that the matter was not open for any further negotiations.
“If the students want, they can appeal to the Chancellor of the University, who is the highest appellate authority in this case. We’d want students to attend classes and not waste their precious study time,” he said.