JNU VC asks students to use “constitutional” means, ABVP calls off hunger strike

New Delhi:Terming the ongoing hunger strike as “unlawful” activity by two groups of students against punishment given by JNU in connection with the February 9 event, Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar asked the students to put their demands using “constitutional” means, prompting ABVP to call off the fast.

The administration called the students for a “dialogue” on seventh day of the strike in protest against the punishment in connection with the event during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised.

While the left-affiliated groups termed the meeting to be “unfruitful”, members of ABVP claimed that the varsity agreed to their demand of “reconsidering” the punishment and hence they called off the indefinite fast and will continue with relay strike.

“Hunger strike is an unlawful activity and a harmful method of protest that adversely affects the health and career of the students. The administration urges the students to use constitutional methods to put forth their demands, if any,” the VC had said in an appeal to the students this morning.

“The administration believes in dialogue and discussion to resolve any issue affecting functioning of the varsity and urges students to immediately call off the strike and come for discussion,” Kumar added.

While JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar complained of low BP yesterday, ABVP’s Saurabh Sharma was rushed to AIIMS after his glucose level dipped. Following separate meetings with the VC, the two groups issued statements about their future course of action.

“The meeting with the VC was highly disappointing. The appeal by him to call off our hunger strike was a threat statement. How come a VC of a premier university of India defines hunger strike as an “unlawful” activity. Hunger Strike is a mode of protest under which no law of the land is violated,” the statement from left-affiliated groups said.

“Our demands are clear and loud, its a do or die battle for us. We will continue our indefinite hunger strike till all the charges are scraped against the students,” it added.

ABVP on the other hand said, “our main demand of reconsidering the charges against Saurabh Sharma has been accepted. We have got an assurance from the administration that the new order will be issued soon. We are calling off the indefinite fast but will continue with relay strike till demands are met”.

Kanhaiya, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, were arrested in a sedition case in connection with the controversial event. They are out on bail now.

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. Saurabh, who is the lone ABVP member in JNU Students Union, has also been slapped with a fine of Rs 10,000 for blocking traffic.