The Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi has fined four students Rs 20,000 each for protesting against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks that selling pakodas counted as employment, The Indian Express reported on Sunday. They also withdrew hostel privileges from one student for two semesters and transferred three to other hostels for alleged indiscipline.
On February 5, the four activists of the National Students’ Union of India had decided to protest against Modi’s remarks on employment in a TV interview and also against JNU introducing compulsory attendance for all courses.
A letter from Chief Proctor Kaushal Kumar Sharma, dated February 9, says the administration had “prima facie evidence” that the students had blocked a bus stand and road near JNU’s Administrative Block, which “inconvenienced” students, teachers, staff, visitors and schoolchildren. It said the students had also cooked food at the site of the protest and “forcefully laid an electric cable” to screen a movie.
“The above are acts of indiscipline and unbecoming of a student,” the chief proctor said, adding that the students had ignored a letter sent the previous day, warning them of “strict disciplinary action” if they did not end their protest.
In an interview with Zee News on January 20, the prime minister had suggested that those who sell pakodas outside offices and earn Rs 200 a day count as employed. Both viewers and the Opposition had criticised his remarks. On February 5, Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah had reiterated Modi’s comments in the Rajya Sabha.