JNU has failed to distinguish between nationalists and anti-nationals while deciding the punishment to students in connection with the controversial February 9 event and has "criminalised" patriotism, members of ABVP alleged on Wednesday.
JNU students who have been punished by the university in connection with the controversial February 9 event on Wednesday began an indefinite hunger strike to demand revocation of punitive action
The university officials, however, maintained that decision has been made after thorough investigation by a five-member probe panel and the punishments have been announced in accordance with the varsity norms.
JNU Students' Union President Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya along with other students started the hunger strike at night and said they reject the findings and recommendations of the high-level inquiry committee that probed the incident.
Kanhaiya, Umar and Anirban Bhattachayra were arrested on the charge of sedition in February in connection with an event on campus against hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised.
They are out on bail now.
"We have been maintaining right from the beginning that we have no faith in the probe committee. We are all sitting on hunger strike against the arbitrary punishments given to us.
The inquiry was a sham and students have rejected it in our general body meeting. We will not abide by the punishment given to us," JNUSU General Secretary Rama Naga said.
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 varied durations.
Five members of ABVP which is BJP's student wing, are on hunger strike since Tuesday demanding withdrawal of punishment orders for Saurabh Sharma, who is the lone ABVP member in JNU students union.
Sharma, JNUSU Joint Secretary, was the main complainant of the event on campus against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised.
Following his complaint on the day of the event, JNU administration had withdrawn the permission for the programme but the organisers had gone ahead with it.
However, a high-level committee of the university probing the issue has found Sharma "guilty" of blocking the traffic and he has been imposed a penalty of Rs 10,000.
"JNU administration has failed to distinguish between the acts of nationalist and those of anti-Indians. It has in fact equated them. We believe that the punishment awarded to Saurabh Sharma for stopping the anti-national procession is a sad incident of criminalising patriotism and nation-service," ABVP said in a statement.
"He was acting as a responsible citizen of India and it was his fundamental duty as per the Constitution to uphold the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India. We want his punishment to be revoked as this shall set a precedent whereby the every nationalist student shall fear to oppose the anti-national events in the campus," it added.
Responding to the allegations a senior university official said, "the sequence of events has been thoroughly probed by the five-member probe committee and the decision has been taken in accordance with university norms."
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