Will challenge in court JNU panel’s recommendation upholding rustication, says Umar Khalid

JNU student Umar Khalid today vowed to challenge in court a university panels recommendation upholding his rustication in connection with the February 9, 2016 incident against Afzal Gurus hanging, during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised on the campus. In a statement released on social media, Khalid said the students would not lie low on their portrayal as criminals. This was the third time in the past two years that the administration had come up with a rustication order against him in the case – an order that had been twice set aside by the courts, he said. We have been portrayed as criminals. With the pretext of the recent order of the farcical high level enquiry (read drama) of the JNU administration, they are claiming that their fiction has been validated. I want to state categorically, that we are all being targeted in a systematic and a malafide manner by an enquiry that was prejudiced against us from day one, he said. We once again reject this farce of an enquiry along with its findings and verdict. It is against all principles of natural justice, and is riddled with contradictions, lies and malice which will soon be exposed again. We will once again challenge this in court, he added. The inquiry committee had yesterday upheld Khalids rustication and a fine of Rs 10,000 imposed on Kanhaiya Kumar, the then students union president, in connection with the campus event against Parliament attack case convict Afzal Gurus execution. An administration that has been running at the orders of the ruling BJP and the RSS, was at no point of time in a position of impartiality to conduct this enquiry. The court has repeatedly found faults with the enquiry process and have vindicated our apprehensions, the statement read. This recent order of the high-level inquiry committee in JNU is in line with the pattern of the administrations highhandedness and selective targeting of opposing voices in the student community who against all odds have refused to kneel in the face of despotism, he said. He further alleged that the panels recommendations have come up right before they are due to make their final Ph.D thesis submission. They have conjured this HLEC (high level enquiry committee) order just two weeks before the deadline of our final submission which is shameful and rabidly vindictive. It is symptomatic of their larger assault on public funded education, on research on social justice and on criticality. However, we want to assure them that we shall not lie low, he said. The five-member panel, which had in 2016 found Khalid and Kumar guilty of violating disciplinary norms, also suspended two more students and imposed financial penalty on 13 others for violation of disciplinary norms. The students had then moved the Delhi High Court, which had directed the university to place the matter before an appellate authority to review the panels decision. Kumar, Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya were arrested in February 2016 on charges of sedition in connection with the controversial event and are out on bail. Their arrest had triggered widespread protests.


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