“This is the third time in the last 2 years that the (JNU) administration has come up with a ‘rustication’ order against me in this case – an order that has been twice set aside by the courts.” — Umar Khalid
NEW DELHI: Just two weeks before the deadline for submission of his PhD thesis, research scholar Umar Khalid has been rusticated from JNU or Jawaharlal Nehru University over a controversial incident that took place at the campus around two and half years ago. The central university has announced punishment for two other students also, including the then president of the varsity students union Kanhaiya Kumar.
Reacting over the punishment, awarded by a high-level enquiry committee of JNU on Thursday, Umar said: “We are all being targeted in a systematic and a malafide manner by an enquiry that was prejudiced against us from day one. An administration that has been running at the orders of the ruling BJP and the RSS, was at no point of time in a position of impartiality to conduct this enquiry. The court has repeatedly found faults with the enquiry process and has vindicated our apprehensions. This is the third time in the last 2 years that the administration has come up with a ‘rustication’ order against me in this case – an order that has been twice set aside by the courts.”
“We once again reject this farce of an enquiry along with its findings and verdict. It is against all principles of natural justice, and is riddled with contradictions, lies and malice which will soon be exposed again. We will once again challenge this in court,” he said in a statement that he posted on his Facebook page.
The committee has rusticated Umar and another student Anirban Bhattacharya and imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on Kumar. Interestingly, even though Anirban has left the university in 2016 itself, the committee has rusticated him from JNU for a semester from July 2018-Jan 2019.
Umar, Kumar and Anirban were arrested in February 2016 on charges of sedition in connection with the controversial event at the campus on the occasion of the anniversary of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru’s hanging. All three were granted bail by the Delhi High Court. The police had made the case against the three on the basis of a video of the event wherein some unidentified persons were seen allegedly raising some anti-national slogans. However, an enquiry by the Delhi government had found that the video was doctored.
Umar, in his statement, said that the whole action in the case by the JNU administration is politically-motivated.
The order of the JNU committee “is in line with the pattern of the administration’s high-handedness and selective targeting of opposing voices in the student community who against all odds have refused to kneel in the face of despotism,” he said.
“We have been student activists in JNU raising our voice against the arrogance of power under the Modi regime and against the manifold injustices in society,” he said.
Umar has been doing PhD on the socio-economic deprivation and political marginalisation of the tribals since colonial times.
He alleged that BJP, which is facing huge trust deficit due to various factors, will try to politicize the issue for electoral gains.
“Faced with rampant joblessness; faced with the wrath of the farmers, workers and the youth; faced with the limits of their communal, casteist and divisive politics; – it is clear that the Modi government is failing miserably and their lies lay exposed. Therefore, once again they are desperately trying to rake up farcical binaries and fictitious enemies today through its propaganda machinery. There will be more such jumlas, assaults, fictitious “conspiracies”, arrests and media witch-hunt in the run up to the elections in 2019. And the desperation only shows the fear and weakness of a government that has terribly failed the nation and its people,” said Umar.