Provocative slogans including ‘Bharat ko ragda do ragda’(India should be stamped out) and ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ were raised at controversial Jawaharlal Nehru University event by a group of masked outsiders, a high-level inquiry committee of the varsity has said.
However, the report said video footages of the February 9 event does not show anyone raising the slogan “Bharat ki barbadi tak jung rahegi” (Fight will go on till India is ruined) but claimed that eyewitnesses have confirmed shouting of such slogans in their deposition.
There was no mention in the report of controversial slogan “Bharat ke tukde tukde kar do” (India should be cut to pieces), having been raised.
The report prepared by a five-member panel headed by Rakesh Bhatnagar, a professor at the varsity, it was “unfortunate” that the students allowed outsiders to be present and make provocative slogans.
It said holding of the event despite cancellation of permission was an act which amounts to “wilful defiance”.
The panel has also noted lapses on part of the university’s security unit, saying it did not make any efforts to stop outsiders from shouting slogans and stop them from leaving the campus.
The committee has stated that though JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar, who has been charged with sedition in connection with the event, reached the venue late but he had objected to the decision of authorities regarding cancellation of permission.
According to the report, Umar Khalid, identified as one of the main organisers of the event, had told the authorities that they will go ahead with the programme and “security can do whatever they want”.
“The presence of a group of outsiders was noted by the security staff and confirmed by many other eyewitnesses. This group of outsiders had their head and face covered by a cloth/scarf most of the time.
“This group of people had engaged in shouting the following slogans ‘Kashmir ki azadi tak jang rahegi, jang rahegi’, ‘Bharat ko ragda do ragda… zor se ragdo’, ‘Go India, go back’ and ‘Pakistan Zindabad’” said the report, noting that one student was also seen participating in the sloganeering in the video.
“The organisers disobeyed the instructions from the administration about not holding the event. This amounts to wilful defiance. It is most unfortunate that the organisers allowed the event to be taken over by a group of outsiders who created a charged atmosphere by raising provocative slogans.
“This act by outsiders has brought disrepute to the entire JNU community,” the report said.
The report has two sections --findings and recommendations. The enquiry has brought out four major aspects of the entire row -- the event, the procession, the sloganeering and the lapses on part of the administration.
The section on findings has been shared by the university with 21 students who have been issued a show-cause notice in this connection but the recommendations have been kept out of public domain.
Highly-placed sources in the university had said that the panel, which submitted its report on March 11, has recommended rustication of five students including Kanhaiya, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya who are facing sedition charges.
“The committee also notes that none of the JNUSU office-bearers acted with due responsibility. They had to behave with even more restraint and caution befitting the position they hold.
“They need to rise above the politics and other differences as they represent the student community. It is unbecoming of student representatives that they should be found engaging in disorderly conduct or condoning it,” it added.
While the panel has identified a few students guilty of procuring permission from the university on false pretext, it has also noted that the Dean of Students should have withdrawn the permission in writing and not by sending text message to the Chief Security Officer.
“It has to be noted that since the event had taken place in 2015 as well, the Dean’s office was not vigilant enough to anticipate and prevent this event. Security did not make any efforts to stop outsiders from shouting provocative slogans and prevent them from leaving the campus,” the report said.
“As per the deposition of the eyewitnesses, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad members led by JNUSU Joint Secretary Saurabh Sharma, who objected to the event, were shouting slogans against the other side,” it added.
Sharma has also been served a show-cause notice after the panel found him guilty of “violation of varsity rules by blocking traffic”.
The committee was formed on February 10 to probe the event organised to protest hanging of Afzal Guru, the Parliament attack convict.
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.
The university had on March 11 revoked the academic suspension of eight students including Kanhaiya after completion of the probe by the five-member panel. It was decided to keep them under suspension from academic activities till the inquiry was over. However, they were allowed to stay in the hostels.
The university authorities maintained that a final decision regarding the “quantum of punishment” will be taken on basis of the reply sent by students to show-cause notices.