Well before the Congress party took to the well of Upper House over the imposition of President’s rule in Uttarakhand, opposition parties took up the issue of administrative action against the students in Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) over February 9 controversy. Strongly taking up the issue in Rajya Sabha, Congress and Left party MPs trained their guns at the BJP-ruled Centre.
The JNU administration on Monday imposed fine of Rs 10,000 on JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar, while temporarily rusticated Ph.D. scholars Umar Khalid for one semester and Anirban Bhattacharya till July 15.
The three, who were charged with sedition by the Delhi Police for allegedly raising controversial slogans on February 9, are out on conditional bail.
Raising the issue on the floor of Upper House as it convened for the day on Tuesday, senior CPI (M) member Tapan Kumar Sen said “This is a part of this government’s project of trampling the right of the citizens,” terming the action of rusticating and fining students as “vindictive” and “unjustified”.
“JNU is one of the prestigious universities in the world. What is happening in JNU is very serious and this house, this Parliament cannot be mute spectator to what is happening there under our nose,” CPI’s D Raja said.
Cutting short Raja’s contention, Deputy Chairperson PJ Kurien stated “universities are autonomous they have taken some action… you cannot make such comments”, while expunging some of D Raja’s remarks against university authorities.
At this, senior parliamentarian Sitaram Yechury held that “JNU was established by an act passed by us. Whatever happens there is our responsibility…therefore it is completely under our jurisdiction to discuss the matter”.
“I also totally support what our colleagues have said,” Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said seconding Yechury’s argument.
Amid din over the JNU issue, Mr. Kurien sought members to move a separate notice on the subject.
“We want our views also to be clearly registered… We are worried because one after the other universities, atmosphere is vitiated. It is the HRD ministry which is involved. This is a very serious issue,” Deputy Opp leader Anand Sharma said attacking the Central government.
Earlier on Monday, based on the findings of a high-level enquiry committee (HLEC), JNU announced the rustication of Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, besides imposition of fine on JNUSU president. The former two have also been fined with Rs 20,000.
Another student, Mujeeb Gattoo, was rusticated for two semesters. A penalty of Rs 10,000 has also been imposed on Saurabh Sharma, ABVP’s Joint Secretary.
Besides, varsity authorities also imposed restrictions over few other ex-students from entering the JNU campus.
On their part, JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya called the decision to rusticate them from the varsity as “unacceptable” and “witch-hunting”. JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar denounced the action, terming the probe as “farcical”.