JNU students screen documentary on Muzaffarnagar riots yet again

New Delhi: JNU students who are sitting on hunger strike in protest against punishments awarded by university for the controversial February 9 event, screened documentary film on Muzaffarnagar riots protesting the new show-cause notices issued to two students.

The university administration, meanwhile, sent the report of the university probe panel to Delhi Police’s anti-terrorism unit, Special Cell, which is probing the sedition case registered in connection with the event on the campus against hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised.

Two groups of students are sitting on indefinite hunger strike since Thursday in protest against the punishments announced by the university to various students for their involvement in the February 9 event.

However, fresh protests erupted on campus in wake of the new show-cause notices issued to two students – Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya- who are already facing rustication for the Afzal Guru event.

The duo, have been asked to explain their position in connection with screening of documentary “Muzaffarngar abhi baqi hai” which was organised by a group of students last August. They have been asked to appear before the Chief Proctor and bring evidences, if any, in their defence.

Questioning the administration’s action after over nine months since the event took place, the JNU Students Union (JNUSU) held a screening of the documentary on the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots at the administration block ever since Umar, Anirban and JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar were arrested in the sedition case. They are out on bail now.

The students also slammed the sharing with police of the five-member probe panel report based on which the decision regarding punishments has been taken by the university. “The special cell had contacted us for a copy of the report and we have sent the same,” a senior university official said.

He, however, did not comment on the reasons behind the action against students on movie screening after nine months. Reacting to the notice Umar said, “I have only one question to ask the JNU administration – it took you 9 months to wake up from your slumber and realise this great ‘indiscipline’ on our part! Is it a simple coincidence that the authorities chose to send this notice to us, when we are already into a movement against witch-hunt of students?”

The agitating students said that they will continue with their hunger strike till the punishments are revoked by the university.

While Kanhaiya has been slapped with a penalty of Rs 10,000 on grounds of “indiscipline and misconduct”, Umar, Anirban and Kashmiri student Mujeeb Gatoo have been rusticated for varying durations.

Financial penalty has been imposed on 14 students. Hostel facilities of two students have been withdrawn and the university has declared the campus out of bounds for two former students.

ABVP member Saurabh Sharma, who was complainant of the event, has also been slapped with a fine of Rs 10,000 for blocking traffic.

The ABVP group, which is also on hunger strike, submitted a memorandum to the university Vice Chancellor demanding that punishment to Saurabh be withdrawn and the “feather-like” punishments to other students be reconsidered.