Kanhaiya, ABVP activists on indefinite hunger strikes in JNU

New Delhi: JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar and 19 other students have begun an indefinite hunger strike to protest against the punishment handed out to them by a high-level committee.

Members of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) too turned their hunger strike into an indefinite one and organised the sit-in in front of the JNU administrative block.

Kanhaiya Kumar and his supporters too are protesting there.

Kumar, Umar Khalid and 18 others began their hunger strike late Wednesday night and said they rejected the findings and recommendations of the high-level inquiry committee that probed the February 9 event on the campus here.

“From the very beginning, we’ve maintained that we have no faith in the inquiry committee. The inquiry was a sham and we will not accept the punishment given to us,” Kumar said while addressing students on the JNU campus.

The ABVP supporters had started a chain hunger strike on Tuesday to demand revocation of the punishment handed to JNUSU joint secretary Saurabh Sharma. He was fined Rs.10,000 by the committee on charge of obstructing traffic on the campus.

“Five of us (ABVP members) started a hunger strike against the punishment given to me. I tried to stop the anti-national procession… I was acting as a responsible citizen of this country. We want the punishment to be revoked,” Sharma said.

The ABVP is also demanding an assurance from the varsity that ‘anti-national’ events will not take place on the campus in future.

JNU’s five-member inquiry committee, constituted on February 11, had on Monday fined Kumar Rs.10,000 and rusticated students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya for one semester each and two semesters for Mujeeb Gatto. Khalid was also asked to pay Rs.20,000 as fine by May 13.

Bhattacharya was rusticated till July 15 and barred from the university from July 25 for five years. He can submit his Ph.D. thesis during the July 15-25 period.

Anti-national slogans were raised at an event held on the JNU campus on February 9 to commemorate executed parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, following which Kumar, Khalid and Bhattacharya were arrested on sedition charges.