The Delhi High Court on Friday put on hold the disciplinary action of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), including rustication, against Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar and others till their appeals against the order is heard and decided by the varsity’s appellate authority.
Justice Manmohan recorded an undertaking given by the students, who have filed writ petitions challenging the university’s order following a report of the High-Level Enquiry Committee (HLEC), that they will withdraw their ongoing hunger strike and not indulge in any further agitation.
Apart from Kanhaiya, Ashwati A Nair, Aishwariya Adhikari, Komal Mohite, Chintu Kumari, Anwesha Chakraborty and two others had challenged the order of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) against them.
Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya moved the court earlier this week against their rustication. Umar had also been slapped with a fine of Rs. 20,000, while Anirban had been barred from JNU campus for five years from July 23.
Justice Manmohan had said, “You (Kanhaiya) can ‘articulate’ to the students sitting on hunger strike from past 16 days to end the agitation, allowing the university to ‘function properly’.
“They (JNU students) will have to end their agitations/ strike. You will have to withdraw the strike immediately. No one should be on hunger strike.”
It further asked senior advocate Rebecca John, who was representing Kanhaiya, to ask him to speak to the students to end their strike.
“You (Kanhaiya) are a ranger and if you speak to the students, they will abide by you and will end their strike. You withdraw this agitation as you can do it,” the court said, adding, “if you abide by our directions only then I will hear the petitions before me.”
“Have faith in judiciary. You will have to give an undertaking that you are going to end the strike and allow the college to function properly. You have to ensure that there is no agitation,” the judge observed.
The university had accused the students of “arousing communal caste feelings, creating disharmony and colluding in the unauthorized entry of outsiders”.
The arrests triggered angry student protests in different parts of the country and pitted the government against opposition parties who alleged a blatant attempt by the ruling BJP to crush dissent and free speech on campuses.
The row intensified after it emerged that the Delhi police had wrongly declared that it had video evidence of Kanhaiya Kumar making incendiary remarks against India. It was later alleged that the slogans were raised by “outsiders”.