Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union President (JNUSU) Kanhaiya Kumar found himself in the middle of another row Thursday, after it emerged that the university had taken disciplinary action against him and fined him in October last year for allegedly misbehaving with a woman. The woman, in her complaint to the university, had accused Kumar of threatening her when she objected to him urinating in public.
The woman, who is an alumnus of JNU, had written an open letter with details of the alleged incident, which, she said, took place in June last year. The letter was written on March 3, a day after Kumar was released from Tihar jail on bail.
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However, Kumar’s organisation — the All India Students’ Federation — said he had not misbehaved with the woman and questioned the timing of the controversy.
The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) Thursday circulated photocopies of the order against Kanhaiya, issued on October 16, which stated, “The university… has found Kanhaiya Kumar guilty of misbehaving with an ex-student (female) and threatening her. This act is serious in nature and unbecoming of a student of JNU and calls for a strict disciplinary action against him (Kanhaiya)… keeping his career prospects in mind, the Vice Chancellor has taken a lenient view in the matter.”
It was signed by then chief proctor Krishan Kumar.
In an open letter, Kamlesh Narwana — now a teacher at Delhi University — questioned Kumar’s credentials to speak on the “dignity of women” and said he was being made a “false revolutionary”.
“I had my first and may be last encounter with this…. known as Kanhaiya (the president of JNUSU) in June last year when he was urinating on road in JNU campus. When I objected, instead of saying sorry, he not only shouted at me but also threatened me of dire consequence and suggested that I should take psychiatric help. Being a JNUite, I filed a complaint against him with the JNU proctor’s office in June 2015,” she wrote.
“I am dejected and pained to see how my JNU community has ganged up to create false revolutionary. I want to ask, do you really understand the D for Dignity of a female, Mr Kanhaiya? Unzipping your private part in public and urinating on a road… are these your revolutionary tools to uphold a female’s dignity,” she added.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Narwana said when she had confronted him, Kumar had called her a “psycho” and said it was his right to urinate in public. “I want to be a neutral party in this. In fact, when I was a JNU student, I too was a Left sympathiser as I belong to a Left family. But I don’t think what Kanhaiya did is in keeping with the communist ideology,” she said.
Referring to charges of “molestation” being made against Kumar, she said, “There was no molestation, but there was definitely misbehaviour and harassment. That is why I wrote to the chief security officer”.
The AISF acknowledged the case of public urination but said Kumar had not misbehaved with Narwana.
“Kanhaiya had no altercation with her and he wasn’t even called by the proctorial committee in the case. While we respect the girl’s decision to criticise Kanhaiya, we find the timing of this news suspicious. All of this is part of a plan to malign him,” it said.
Demanding a public apology from Kumar, ABVP’s JNU unit president Alok Singh said, “This incident has completely exposed people who give big lectures on women’s day. It has shown how they actually treat women. He not only argued with the girl but also threatened her. We condemn this incident and demand that Kanhaiya should publicly apologise for what he has done”.