Published: 17th December 2019
JNU suspends PhD scholar for breaking VC's car windshield: But was he even at the protest?
The notice does not mention a date of the incident referred to but the students think the administration is indicating the day the VC visited the School of Arts and Aesthetics
The Jawaharlal Nehru University administration has accused two students of being involved in a scuffle with the administrative staff, surrounding the Vice-Chancellor and breaking the front and rear glass panes of his car. The students, Shashi Tripathi and Gautam Sharma, both PhD scholars at JNU, have also been accused of entering the administrative building and vandalising the VC's office. The notice, signed by the Registrar, said that they stand suspended academically, their rooms will be locked and that the JNU campus is out of bounds to them. It also, rather strangely, adds that anyone who "harbours" them illegally will face the administration's wrath.
The notice does not mention a date of the incident referred to but the students think the administration is indicating the day the VC visited the School of Arts and Aesthetics and later complained of being attacked by students. A video of the incident went viral that showed a student clinging on to the VC's car as it sped away. But what cannot be seen are a broken windshield or rear glass pane.
There was a scuffle between the students and the officials and the security but no sharp objects are seen in the video. Gautam, who is pursuing his PhD at the School of Sciences, said that he was not even present at the scene. "I was near my school. I am definitely a part of the fee hike movement and have been present at many of the protests but that particular day I wasn't even in the vicinity. Neither have I entered the administrative block, so there is no question of vandalism. This is the administration's way of intimidating us," said Gautam. He had been in a legal battle with the university for his MPhil admission as well. "I lost a year of academics and had to fight a legal battle to get admission. We are simply being targetted. And we are not the only ones. Apparently some others too have received such notices," he added.
Shashi Tripathi, a PhD student of the School of International Studies, accepted that he was present at the location but denied ransacking the VC's car or his office. "We only wanted to have a dialogue with the VC. But no matter how much we asked him to address the problem, he did not respond. In the meanwhile, we were manhandled by the security and there was a scuffle but that was it. No one went to the VC's office to vandalise it. That is why they have not enclosed photographs or any form of proof with the notices," he said.
The students were given 24 hours to leave the hostel but they have decided not to comply. Shashi has complete faith that he and his fellow students will put up a strong political and legal resistance to the administration. "We will not let them lock our rooms. We will be on dharna and also agitate as were anyway protesting — in a peaceful way. We will also take legal action. How can they evict a bonafide student on the basis of prima facie evidence?" asked Shashi.