JNU stu­dent fined for protest says she wasn’t even in town

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES CITY -

New Delhi: Twenty-year-old Vatya Raina was “aghast” when she re­ceived a no­tice from the JNU proc­tor’s of­fice on April 4, ac­cus­ing her of in­dulging in gherao and phys­i­cal vi­o­lence against a pro­fes­sor of her cen­tre on March 15. The third-year BA stu­dent claimed she was “not even on the cam­pus” that day — she said she was on her way to Kolkata for a theatre event. The stu­dent was slapped with a fine of Rs 10,000 on July 11, “de­spite fur­nish­ing proof of rail­way tickets” dur­ing the proc­to­rial en­quiry — an amount, she says, she can­not pay for she has been fund­ing her ed­u­ca­tion by tak­ing tu­itions for a year now.

The al­leged in­ci­dent took place out­side the Cen­tre of Span­ish, Por­tuguese, Ital­ian and Latin Amer­i­can Stud­ies School of Lan­guage on March 15 when sev­eral stu­dents came out to protest against the re­place­ment of seven chair­per­sons and deans of dif­fer­ent schools and cen­tres on the cam­pus. The com­plainant al­leged that he was “sub­jected to per­sonal at­tacks and de­ri­sion for 30 min­utes” by the stu­dents who also abused staff mem­bers. In his com­plaint, the pro­fes­sor claimed, sev­eral girl stu­dents sur­rounded him till 5pm and did not al­low him to leave.

The pro­fes­sor named 11 stu­dents in­volved in the in­ci­dent — in­clud­ing Raina. But the stu­dent claimed that she had left for the rail­way sta­tion around 2pm as “the Delhi to Seal­dah Ra­jd­hani leaves at 4:30pm”. She said she was a part of a theatre group, which was to per­form at the West Ben­gal Urdu Acad­emy Drama fes­ti­val in Kolkata on July 17. “I got a no­tice from the proc­tor’s of- fice and was sur­prised as I was nowhere near the cam­pus at the time of the in­ci­dent,” Raina told TOI.

She claimed that dur­ing the in­quiry, she fur­nished all “proof” — in­clud­ing her train ticket and the theatre group’s list of artists per­form­ing at the event. “The fine is un­ex­pected for I gave them all doc­u­ments in sup­port of my argument to prove that I wasn’t even on the cam­pus,” she said.

Raina said she couldn’t pay the amount as “I have stopped tak­ing money from my par­ents for my ed­u­ca­tion and have been do­ing trans­la­tion work and tak­ing tu­itions to sus­tain my­self. I may go to court and challenge this be­cause I can’t pay such a hefty amount.” Speak­ing to TOI, the com­plainant pro­fes­sor said he had pre­sented him­self be­fore the proc­to­rial en­quiry and “only they can an­swer about the case”. The chief proc­tor did not re­spond to queries.

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