The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union on Tuesday used flowerpots placed by university officials outside its administrative block to spell out the name of Najeeb Ahmad, a student who has been missing for more than two months. University Vice-Chancellor MJ Kumar said the flowerpots were placed outside the block to prevent protests from being held there as they disrupted the day-to-day functioning of the institution, The Indian Express reported.

JNUSU president Mohit Pandey said the protest was being conducted against the “lenient punishment” given to four Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad activists who allegedly assaulted Ahmad, PTI reported. In a statement, the JNUSU condemned the “shameful and disgusting” move by the university’s administration to punish the four activists by transferring them to other hostels from the one where the assault took place. The JNU administration had “shown [the] heights of tokenism in the name of punishment” against Ahmad’s attackers, the statement said.

MJ Kumar said, “The JNU administration has repeatedly requested the JNUSU to conduct their dharnas, sit-ins, debates and public lectures at lawfully allotted spaces on the campus. Some misguided elements are deliberately trying to malign JNU’s image by indulging in activities that violate university rules.” The JNUSU will hold a protest march in Delhi on Wednesday, in which Ahmad’s mother Fatima Nafees will also participate.

The case of the missing student has snowballed on and off campus. On November 15, the university administration had denied permission to the JNU students’ union to hold a protest march in solidarity with Ahmad. The administration had said the protest could have caused unrest leading to security threats on campus. On November 6, the Delhi Police had detained Ahmad’s mother and a group of students while they were protesting against the administration’s inaction in the case.

Separately, the Delhi High Court on November 25 issued notices to the state government and the police in connection with the case. It also asked the Delhi Police to file a status report in the matter. On December 9, it criticised the police for failing to locate Ahmad. A bench of the court asked how Ahmad could “vanish suddenly”.