JNU students decide not to accept probe panel report

New Delhi: JNU students, who have been served show-cause notice to explain their alleged role in the controversial February 9 event, have decided to "not accept" the report of a university probe panel and said they will send their reply accordingly.

A decision in this regard was taken at a JNU Students' Council meeting which went on till late tonight here. "The inquiry report is based on an unfair probe process and hence, we refused to accept its findings... Our replies to the show-cause notice will be sent accordingly," a member of the council said.

Show-cause notices were issued to 21 students on March 14 asking them to explain why disciplinary action should not be initiated against them after the high-level committee of the university found them guilty of "violating university norms and discipline rules".

JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar addresses fellow students at the New Delhi campus upon his release on bail earlier this month. Pic/PTI

The report has, according to sources, recommended rustication of five students including JNU Students' Union President Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya who are facing sedition charges.

Kanhaiya, Umar and Anirban were arrested on charges of sedition in connection with the programme. Kanhaiya was released on bail from Tihar on March 3 while Umar and Anirban are still in judicial custody.

"Two of the students are in jail while the inquiry was completed. Another student, Aishwarya Adhikari who was earlier suspended and had also been served a show-cause notice, finds no mention of her name in the committee report. It is a highly-biased and undemocratic inquiry," the council member said.

Earlier today, JNU authorities extended the deadline for replying to the show-cause notice served to March 18 after the students had sought more time to seek legal opinion on the matter.

"The Vice Chancellor has granted an extension till March 18 for students to reply to the show cause notice," a senior university official said.

The final "quantum of punishment" for the students will be decided on the basis of response to the notices, the deadline for which was till today 5 PM.

The report of the five-member panel, which was submitted on March 11, has pointed out lapses on part of the students as well as the administration.

Taking into account the role of outsiders in the controversial event, the university panel has found Umar and Anirban "guilty" of arousing communal, caste or regional feeling or creating disharmony among students.

While no specific charges have been pointed out against students union president Kanhaiya Kumar, who is facing sedition charges in connection with the event, the university has found ABVP member Saurabh Sharma "guilty" of blocking traffic on February 9, the day of the controversial event.

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