Mounting dissent

You know you’ve gone too far when your own people say they have had enough. Vide the ongoing JNU controversy, which has already seen the resignations of a Zee News reporter, three ABVP student leaders from the troubled campus, and now JNU Chief Proctor Krishna Kumar — this last over the conduct of the university’s internal probe into the events of February 9.

Sucheta De, national president of the AISA, in a media release alleges that the conduct of the inquiry is compromised at its core. The text:

Today’s papers have reported the resignation of JNU’s Chief Proctor over the handling of the JNU probe. In the light of this news, it is important to underline that the enquiry process was vitiated right from the start, as the JNU Students’ Union has already pointed out in a series of letters to the JNU Administration.

The High Level Enquiry Committee set up by the JNU Administration is, shockingly, headed by a professor who was an official representative of the Youth For Equality – an anti-reservation organisation that overlaps with the ABVP.    

Prof. Bhatnagar is not just a sympathiser of the YFE; financial contributions for the YFE were directed to his official JNU laboratory address at the School for Biotechnology, JNU.

How can a faculty who is organisationally linked to a student group overlapping with ABVP be entrusted with the enquiry on allegations made by ABVP ? Already the High Level Enquiry Committee headed by Prof Bhatnagar has proved its bias.

The Enquiry Committee, with Prof. Bhatnagar as its HEAD, suspended 8 students WITHIN 24 hrs of its formation and WITHOUT summoning any of the accused for deposition or explanation. The names of the 8 suspended students were instantly passed on to the MHRD. The HRD Minister quoted the HLEC order and read out these 8 names on the floor of the parliament effectively declaring and defaming 8 students as guilty of ‘anti-national’ act.

The JNU Administration has indulged in a political witch-hunt of JNU students – punishing them for their ideology and activism.

Partisan Role of the Registrar

The JNU Registrar too said in an interview to The Hindu on 14 Feb, “The students who have been debarred were seen raising slogans in the video, and Kanhaiya was also seen in the video raising anti-national slogans”.

It is now well known that the video footage the Registrar presumably referred to was found to be doctored. The Delhi Police has also said in the High Court that they do not have any video which shows Kanhaiya giving anti-national slogans.

Can the JNU Registrar now explain why he relied on doctored videos to punish eight students and brand them guilty? Why did the JNU Administration violate the principles of natural justice and suspend 8 students without allowing them to present any explanation, and without checking the authenticity of videos?

JNU students and JNU teachers too have demanded the resignation of the Registrar for his partisan role.

AISA demands that the suspension of the eight students – Kanhaiya, Rama Naga, Ashutosh, Anant, Aishwarya and Shweta be revoked by the JNU Administration without any delay.

While on dissent, Pradeep Narwal, the joint secretary of ABVP’s JNU unit who resigned in protest, addresses his peers. Watch: