The High-Level Enquiry Committee (HLEC) set up by the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) to probe the events of February 9 — when “anti-national” slogans were allegedly raised during an event on campus — submitted its final report to JNU authorities Friday. Some of the measures recommended in the report against certain students include punishment and fines, said sources in JNU.
The university also said that with the submission of the final report, the interim report by the committee no longer stands and the suspension of the eight students, who allegedly organised the event, will end Saturday. This, however, does not mean that they have been given a clean chit, said sources in JNU.
The report is currently under review by Vice-Chancellor Jagadesh Kumar, who is likely to take action next week, said sources.
In an official communication, the university said, “The HLEC constituted by the Vice-Chancellor to investigate the February 9 incident that took place in JNU Campus, has submitted its report. The report is under consideration by the JNU administration”.
Members of the JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) met Kumar over the issue and informed him that the JNUSU had passed a resolution against the HLEC and any decision taken by the committee would not be accepted by the students.
JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar and JNUSU general-secretary Rama Naga, who met the V-C, the Dean of Students’ Welfare (DSW) and the Rector, said they had put forward the decision of the JNUSU council.
Addressing students later, Kanhaiya said, “They told us the suspension does not stand after midnight Friday, as the final report has been submitted. We told them that the time of the suspension is over but you will have to give the rationale behind suspending students. They said they have got the report and they will read it and announce the action that has to be taken on the basis of it next week”.
“We told them you can publish the report and take action, but the JNU student community will not accept this. We appeal to you, please go through the resolution and address the concerns raised by the JNUSU council. If you don’t do so, we will not follow your decision and your action,” he added.
The HLEC was set up on February 10 — the day after the event to mark the third anniversary of the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru — and it had superseded the Proctorial Committee, which usually looks after disciplinary cases.
Then a three-member committee, the HLEC suspended eight students on February 12 on the basis of an interim report, although they were allowed to stay in their hostels as guests. These included Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya, Ashutosh Kumar, Rama Naga, Anant Prakash Narayan, Shweta Raj and Aishwarya Adhikari.
Terming the committee “unrepresentative”, the students had refused to depose before the committee and, along with the JNU Teachers’ Association (JNUTA), had asked for its scope to be widened, after which two new members were added to the committee. However, both the JNUTA and the JNUSU have said they had no faith in the committee.
“The suspension has not been revoked. The suspension was supposed to last until the completion of the probe by the enquiry committee. The working of the enquiry committee is completely non-transparent, but because it has submitted its report, the suspension technically ends. This is nothing to be celebrated or welcomed,” said JNUSU vice-president Shehla Rashid Shora.