Umar Khalid taunts ‘Paid Pipers’ in media after JNU rusticates him, says ‘picture abhi baki hai mere dost’

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JNU student Umar Khalid has hit back his detractors particularly at a section of the Indian media, who he addressed as ‘paid pipers’ after a university panel upheld his rustication.

Umar Khalid

This was after the JNU administration upheld its 2016 decision to rusticate Umar and fine former students’ union leader Kanhaiya Kumar for their alleged involvement in the so-called anti-national protests.

Kanhaiya, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya were arrested in a sedition case in connection with the 9 February event on campus against hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised and they are now out on bail.

The 21 JNU students were slapped with varied punishments ranging from rustication, hostel debarment to financial penalty on the basis of probe by the enquiry committee which had found them guilty of violation of disciplinary norms. They had gone on an indefinite hunger strike against the probe panel’s recommendation which had lasted for 16 days.

Reacting to the development, Umar wrote, “Dear Paid Pipers in the Godi Media, Don’t get too ecstatic, just yet. Picture abhi baaki hai mere dost.” His another tweet took a dig at the university panel’s decision to rusticate Anirban highlighting that he had already ceased to be a JNU student in 2016.

Umar asked, “Just got to know that Anirban has also been rusticated from JNU for a semester from July 2018-Jan 2019. Now, the fun part is he ceased to be a JNU student in 2016. How do u rusticate a person who has already left? Put him on a time machine? Such a High Level farce, this enquiry.”

Umar issued a detailed statement saying that he will challenge the JNU’s rustication order. He wrote, “An administration that has been running at the orders of the ruling BJP and the RSS, was at no point of time in a position of impartiality to conduct this enquiry. The court has repeatedly found faults with the enquiry process and have vindicated our apprehensions. This is the third time in the last 2 years that the administration has come up with a ‘rustication’ order against me in this case – an order that has been twice set aside by the courts. We once again reject this farce of an enquiry along with its findings and verdict. It is against all principles of natural justice, and is riddled with contradictions, lies and malice which will soon be exposed again.”

Full statement by Umar:

Once again the BJP and its paid pipers in the media are ecstatic in their portrayal of the students in JNU as “criminals”. With the pretext of the recent order of the farcical “High Level” enquiry (read drama) of the JNU administration, they are claiming that their fiction has been “validated”. I want to state categorically, that we are all being targeted in a systematic and a malafide manner by an enquiry that was prejudiced against us from day one. An administration that has been running at the orders of the ruling BJP and the RSS, was at no point of time in a position of impartiality to conduct this enquiry. The court has repeatedly found faults with the enquiry process and have vindicated our apprehensions. This is the third time in the last 2 years that the administration has come up with a ‘rustication’ order against me in this case – an order that has been twice set aside by the courts. We once again reject this farce of an enquiry along with its findings and verdict. It is against all principles of natural justice, and is riddled with contradictions, lies and malice which will soon be exposed again. We will once again challenge this in court. And we will continue our struggle against such vindictive witch hunt of any and every voice of dissent in universities across the country. This recent order of the HLEC in JNU is in line with the pattern of the administration’s high-handedness and selective targeting of opposing voices in the student community who against all odds have refused to kneel in the face of despotism.

But alongside, I also wish to take the opportunity to add a bit more here. Yes, we have been student activists in JNU raising our voice against the arrogance of power under the Modi regime and against the manifold injustices in society. But alongside we have also been students who have pursued our academics seriously over the years. And the two are not exclusive of each other. Our politics also reflects in our academic pursuit and vice versa. Both relate to the rights of the most marginalised in our society. As the ones studying in a public funded university with tax-payer’s money, we have a certain sense of responsibility towards our society. My own PhD is on the socio-economic deprivation and political marginalisation of the tribals since colonial times. It is rather ironical that the same regime that says that students are non serious about their studies in JNU is today hellbent upon stopping us from submitting our PhDs that have been the products of rigorous research, passion and criticality. They have conjured this HLEC order just two weeks before the deadline of our final submission which is shameful and rabidly vindictive. It is symptomatic of their larger assault on public funded education, on research on social justice and on criticality. However, we want to assure them that we shall not lie low.

Faced with rampant joblessness; faced with the wrath of the farmers, workers and the youth; faced with the limits of their communal, casteist and divisive politics; – it is clear that the Modi government is failing miserably and their lies lay exposed. Therefore, once again they are desperately trying to rake up farcical binaries and fictitious enemies today through its propaganda machinery. There will be more such jumlas, assaults, fictitious “conspiracies”, arrests and media witch-hunt in the run up to the elections in 2019. And the desperation only shows the fear and weakness of a government that has terribly failed the nation and its people.

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