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JNU Sends Expulsion Notice to Kanhaiya Kumar, 21 Others; Deja Vu?

The rationale behind JNU administration’s decision to expel JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar and 4 others has brought the case of victimisation of JNU student leaders back to square one with students enrazed over the fresh notices issued to them, despite the case being sub-judice.

Reminiscent of the University of Hyderabad situation that prevailed before Dalit student Rohith Vemula was expelled and forced to commit suicide, the panel headed by new Vice Chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar, a former IIT professor, has sent out notices to 21 students. JNU students, who are already on vigil against such moves by JNU administration citing inadequacies in the notice.

The notice sent out to 21 students for their alleged role in a February 9 event to mark the anniversary of the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, where anti-India slogans were raised, however, failed to clarify on what evidence the notice was sent and also failed to relate it to the court case, which is pending.

"The high-level committee has recommended rustication of five students after its investigation over a month’s time. However, the final call in this regard will be taken by the Vice Chancellor and Proctor’s office," said one varisty official to PTI.

While the university administration is trying to keep pressure on the student community, the faculty has criticised the unilateral move by the administration regardless of the sensitivity of the case. "Disclose the evidence based on which action has been recommended," demanded Ajay Patnaik, JNU Teachers’ association president. The 21 students have asked the report to be made public.

"The notice is very vague. It doesn’t say what we have done. It asks us to clarify, but what should we clarify?" said Anand Prakash, one of the students. Alleging total bias, he said, "We were suspended 24 hours after the inquiry committee was formed." Now they want to expel us in the same manner, he added.

The university Vice Chancellor and other top administration officials met on Monday and took the decision to send notices.

While Kanhaiya Kumar, JNUSU president is on bail, other student leaders Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya are still in prison facing sedition charges under IPC Section 124 (a), similar to those that were used by the British rulers against the freedom fighters in India.

These students were facing ban already from attending academic activities in the University since March 11, pending the enquiry report that was not made public by the University.

The fall out would be that a freed Kanhaiya Kumar can move to mainstream politics with the expulsion posing a tough challenge to BJP which is testing its luck in Assam, West Bengal and Kerala Assembly elections.

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