Sedition row: JNU panel upholds punishment for Umar Khalid, Kanhaiya Kumar

New Delhi : The JNU’s high-level inquiry committee has upheld Umar Khalid’s rustication and a fine of Rs 10,000 imposed on Kanhaiya Kumar in connection with the February 9, 2016 incident.

The JNU panel had in 2016 recommended rustication of Khalid and two other students and imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on Kumar, the then students’ union president, in connection with the campus event against Afzal Guru’s hanging during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised.

The five-member panel had also imposed financial penalty on 13 other students 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 panel’s decision.

According to sources, the panel has upheld its decision in the case of Khalid and Kumar.

“The penalty has also been reduced for some students like Ashutosh Kumar is now supposed to pay only the fine and will be allowed to continue staying in the hostel. Some of them are no longer JNU students so the punishment won’t apply to them,” a source said.

“The accused students were permitted to inspect the documents and videos of evidences during the review proceedings of the panel and were also given an opportunity to appear before the appellate authority to present their defence,” the source added.

While repetitive attempts to reach the JNU Rector, Proctor and the vice chancellor did not materialise, the JNU students union said that the students who have been issued fresh letters will appeal before the Delhi High Court.

“Even after over two years, Delhi Police has not been able to file charge sheet in the sedition case. This witch-hunting of students in name of the high-level enquiry committee is nothing but part of an anti-JNU campaign which the students will not accept,” said Sucheta De, National President, All India Students Association (AISA).

Saurabh Sharma, from the ABVP, who had raised objection to the event in 2016, hailed the probe panel’s decision and demanded strict implementation of the punishment orders for the students who have been found guilty of violating the disciplinary norms.

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.