The indefinite hunger strike by JNU students entered the 10th day today even as students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar withdrew his fast due to medical reasons. So far, six students have withdrawn their fast against the punishment by the university in connection with the February 9 event during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised, while 14 others are continuing with the hunger strike.
Kanhaiya, who is out on bail after his arrest in a sedition case, was yesterday discharged from AIIMS after treatment for mild dehydration and ketosis.
“Kanhaiya was back on campus last night and due to his health condition doctors advised him to discontinue with the fast. He has been advised bed rest for few days and also has to undergo some medical tests. While he has withdrawn the fast, he will continue with the agitation,” a statement from the JNU Students Union said. The health reports of other fasting students mentioned high ketone levels, low BP and weight loss.
JNU Teachers Association has today called for a relay hunger strike in protest against the administration. Alumni of the varsity will also join the protesting students and form a human chain today evening.
The JNU administration had yesterday appealed the students and teachers to not invite outsiders saying it might vitiate the academic atmosphere and peace on campus. The administration also asked the students to refrain from using “direct or indirect coercive measures and come forward for dialogue and discussion”.
Terming the hunger strike to be an “unlawful activity” JNU VC Jagadesh Kumar had earlier this week appealed to students to put forward their demands using “constitutional” means and asked them to come for a “dialogue” to resolve the matter.
Five members of ABVP, who had also gone on hunger strike last week, called off their stir on Wednesday claiming they have got an assurance from the JNU administration that their demands will be considered.
Two other students—Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya—were arrested along with Kanhaiya in the sedition case.
While Kanhaiya has been slapped with a penalty of Rs 10,000, Umar, Anirban and a Kashmiri student, Mujeeb Gatoo have been rusticated for varying durations. Saurabh, who is the lone ABVP member in JNU Students Union, has also been slapped with a fine of Rs 10,000 for blocking traffic.