Published: 30th November 2017
I am calling JNU's Proctor's bluff: How a student proved he was being targeted by the administration
Om Prasad was given a warning letter for allegedly taking part in a protest against JNU norms. Denying it, the student produced a copy of his tickets claiming that he was out of town on that day
Did JNU just censure a student activist for taking part in a protest when he wasn't even in town? In a move that has raised the hackles of students and unionists at JNU, the administration appears to have charged the student on the basis of "CCTV footage" though he has air tickets and uber receipts to prove that he in Hyderabad on that particular day.
According to reports, the chief proctor of JNU had issued a "warning" letter to Om Prasad, a student of the School of Social Sciences, on November 15, for taking part in a protest in front of the administration building on March 16. "This act of Prasad is unbecoming of a student of JNU. Om Prasad is hereby warned and advised to be careful in the future. He must refrain from getting involved in such activities," the letter read.
How can we believe the Proctor's claims when any other student of JNU is punished or 'warned' on the basis of CCTV footage? What becomes clear is that the JNU administration is using bogus CCTV footage and video footage to punish activists
Om Prasad, a student of the School of Social Sciences at JNU
Om Prasad, though, responded with a lengthy post on Facebook explaining that he wasn't even in town during the protest in question. He wrote in his post, "Yesterday late in the evening I got a letter from the JNU administration warning me for participating in a Protest Demo on the 16th of March 2017 and some completely unsolicited moral gyan (moral lecture). But the funny thing is that I was not even there in Delhi on that day. On the 16th morning, I left for Hyderabad to interview Dr Pushpa Bhargava and my ticket proves that. This is exactly what I told the Proctor's Office on some date in April 2017 when I was served a notice for the same event on 16th March. I told the Proctor that I was not there in JNU hence how can I participate in the protest, and what is the evidence based on which they are charging me?"
Having justified his absence from the campus during the protest, Om Prasad went on to question why he was being targeted. "The most important issue here is that I was sent the letter on the basis of CCTV footage and video footage. What did they see in that? How did they see me when I wasn't even there? This case raises serious questions about the integrity and neutrality of the Proctor's Office," the post read.
He then accused the administration of being partial towards ABVP students. "How can we believe the Proctor's claims when any other student of JNU is punished or 'warned' on the basis of CCTV footage? What becomes clear is that the JNU administration is using bogus CCTV footage and video footage to punish activists. I had the proof and hence I am calling their bluff but what if a student was not there but doesn't have any concrete evidence to prove it. The JNU administration acts in this manner because it's prejudiced against student activists and hence targets them while letting those from ABVP go scot-free."
Om Prasad posted a copy of a flight ticket and claimed that he had boarded a Hyderabad-bound SpiceJet flight from Delhi at 6 am on March 16. To back his claim, he also showed two taxi receipts — one from JNU to the Delhi airport and another in Hyderabad. "This is a clear case of falsely accusing students and punishing them in a completely arbitrary manner. I have enough evidence to prove my absence from the campus on that day, but what about those students, who were on the campus but did not take part in the protest?" Prasad asked.