JNU student Umar Khalid, who is out on bail in a sedition case and was on a hunger strike for the last 11 days, was taken to AIIMS in wee hours today after his sugar sodium and potassium levels fell significantly. Khalid, who has been rusticated by the university for one semester for his involvement in the controversial February 9 event during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised, also had to withdraw the hunger strike due to bad health.
“Umar Khalid was forced to discontinue the hunger strike owing to acutely failing health. He had severe cramps in the evening because of low sodium-potassium level in his blood following which he was taken to AIIMS post-midnight for saline drips,” a JNU Students Union statement said.
Seven students, including JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar, have withdrawn from the fast against the punishment by the varsity in connection with the event while 13 others are still continuing with their hunger strike which entered the 12th day today.
JNU Teachers Association (JNUTA), university alumni and mothers residing on the campus have come out in solidarity with the fasting students by going on a one-day relay hunger strike on different days.
The university administration has appealed to the students not to invite outsiders on the campus and resort to “constitutional” means of putting forward their demands.
Kanhaiya, Umar and Anirban Bhattacharya were arrested in February in a sedition case over the event and are out on bail now.
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.
Financial penalty has been imposed on 14 students. Hostel facilities of two students have been withdrawn and the university has declared the campus out of bounds for two former students.
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.
Five ABVP members including Saurabh, who were also on a hunger strike, had last week called off their fast claiming they have an assurance from the JNU administration about consideration of their demands.