‘Quantum of punishment’ will be based on response to notices

JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar with the union Vice President Shehla Rashid (2nd L) and Rama Naga (L) addressing students on the JNU campus in New Delhi on Monday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has extended by two days the last date for replying to the show-cause notices served on 21 students in connection with the Afzal Guru event on the campus on February 9.

Earlier, the students were supposed to reply by the evening of March 16. Now, the time has been extended till the morning of March 18.

The final “quantum of punishment” to the >21 Jawaharlal Nehru University students served with show-cause notices in connection with the February 9 Afzal Guru event, will be decided on the basis of their responses. A meeting has been called by the Chief Proctor for Friday, the same day the students are supposed to send their replies.

After a high-level five-member committee of the university found them guilty of “violating university norms and discipline rules”, the notices were issued on March 14. They were asked to explain why disciplinary action should not be initiated against them.

The students who have been served the notice include JNU Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar, Anirban Bhattacharya, Umar Khalid, Rama Naga, Ashutosh Kumar, Anant Prakash, Shweta Raj, Aishwarya Adhikari and Chintu Kumari.

Umar and Anirban, who are in judicial custody on sedition charges, have been served notice that lists four charges against them: “furnishing false information to the university”, “arousing communal, caste or religion feeling”, “causing unauthorised entry in the campus” and “any other point that may be considered violation by the Vice-Chancellor.” The notice served on Ashutosh lists the same charges, except that of furnishing false information.

The notice served on others lists a single charge: “Any other act which may be considered by the Vice-Chancellor or any other authority to be an act of violation of discipline.”

While no specific charges have been made against Mr. Kanhaiya Kumar, who is facing sedition charges, the university has found ABVP member and JNUSU joint secretary Saurabh Sharma “guilty” of blocking traffic on February 9.

The panel report submitted on March 11 pointed to lapses on the part of the students as well as the administration. On the same day, academic suspension of eight students, including Mr. Kanhaiya Kumar, was revoked.

Meanwhile, the students who had refused to depose before the committee called a council meeting on Wednesday night to discuss whether or not to reply to the notice. A decision could not be reached at an all-party meeting organised on the campus which went on till late on Tuesday night.

The probe panel is believed to have recommended rustication of Umar and Anirban and a fine on other students.

The committee report is based completely on eyewitness accounts and document trails, since none of the eight debarred students, deposed. The committee, which was constituted on February 11, had on February 12 debarred the eight students for their involvement in the February 9 incident and had issued notices to them to depose before the committee. However, none of the students deposed, citing issues with the composition of the panel.

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Printable version | Nov 26, 2021 1:56:20 PM |

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