New Delhi, Apr 26: While JNU students and teachers are agitated with the severity of punishment awarded to Anirban Bhattacharya in connection with the February 9 event, the university officials said the decision has been taken after taking into account the students' record of conduct.
A high-level committee probing the controversial event during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised had found Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya guilty of "arousing communal violence and disrupting harmony on campus". However, the duo have been awarded different punishments.
While Khalid has been rusticated for one semester and imposed a penalty of Rs 20,000, Anirban has been rusticated till July 15 and debarred from taking up any course for next five years.
He has, however, been given a window of a week (July 15-23) to submit his thesis, failing which he will have to start his PhD afresh after five years at JNU though he is eligible to enrol in any other university at any time.
"The two cases cannot be compared. The Chief Proctor's Office has taken into account not only the committee's report but also the previous record of the students' conduct," a senior university official said.
He, however, did not comment on previous cases of indiscipline against the students. JNU students union president Kanhaiya, Umar and Anirban were arrested on the charge of sedition in February in connection with the controversial event and are out on bail.
Their arrests had triggered widespread protests at JNU and many other universities, following which the Opposition had accused the government of attempting to stifle dissent.
As per the university record, Anirban was fined Rs 5000 last year as well for bypassing official instructions by organising a similar event and misleading the warden by providing wrong information about the speakers of the public talk.
Though Kanhaiya was fined Rs 3000 last year in a case of misbehaving with a girl, the officials say his role in the February 9 event was not found to be very "substantial".
"As per the inquiry, his involvement in the event was not found to be very substantial but he has been punished for not fulfilling his moral duty as students union chief," the official said. Kanhaiya has been slapped with a penalty of Rs 10,000 on grounds of "indiscipline and misconduct".
Kashmiri student Mujeeb Gattoo has been rusticated for two semesters. The probe panel had found him to be involved in "objectionable sloganeering" at the event.
While 14 other students have been let off with varied amounts of fine, the campus has been made out of bounds for two former students -- Banojyotsana Lahiri and Draupadi -- while hostel facilities of Ashutosh Kumar have been withdrawn for a year and Komal Mohite till July 21.