Afzal Guru row: JNU panel submits report, suspension revoked

The JNU today revoked the academic suspension of eight students including its students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar in connection with the controversial event at its campus to protest the hanging of Afzal Guru.

The suspension was revoked after a high-level committee of the university probing the issue submitted its report to JNU authorities.

The varsity, however, clarified that it does not signify a “clean chit” to the students and that the final decision in this regard will be taken after examination of the report by the Vice Chancellor.

The five-member panel was constituted on February 10 by the university, a day after an event to protest the hanging of the Parliament attack convict on his third death anniversary was held during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised. The eight students were suspended on February 12.

On the basis of a preliminary report by the panel, the varsity had debarred the eight students from academic activity while allowing them to stay as guests in hostels till the inquiry proceedings were over.

“The High-Level Inquiry Committee (HLIC)constituted by the Vice Chancellor to investigate the February 9 incident that took place in JNU Campus, has submitted its report. The report is under consideration by the JNU Administration,” a senior university official told PTI.

“Since the enquiry is over, their suspension has been revoked. The suspended students can now resume their classes and academic activities.

“However, it should not be seen as a clean-chit, the decision about punishment if any or for whom will be taken after the university administration has deliberated upon the recommendations of the committee,” he added.

The committee has faced a series of hiccups since its constitution. While the varsity’s proctorial committee was first given the task to probe the issue, a day later it was replaced by a high-level committee.

The committee initially had three members but under pressure from teachers and students for broadening its scope, the university had added two more members to the panel.

The panel, which was granted three extensions before it finally submitted its report, also faced a challenge with the students refusing to depose before it demanding that the enquiry be constituted afresh.

The varsity, however, turned down the demand and maintained that the students will be given three chances to appear before the disciplinary committee and if they fail to do so the committee will finalise its recommendations on the basis of the evidence, eyewitness accounts, students’ deposition (if any) and material available on hand.

Besides Kumar, the eight suspended students included Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya, Ashutosh, Rama Naga, Anant Kumar, Shweta Raj and Aishwarya Adhikari.

While Kanhaiya was granted bail in a sedition case over the event last week, Umar and Anirban are still in custody.