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