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Delhi: South Asian University accused of 'arbitrarily' expelling two students

Delhi: South Asian University accused of ‘arbitrarily’ expelling two students

February 20, 2023

A students’ body of South Asian University (SAU) on Sunday accused the institute of “arbitrarily” expelling two students and rusticating two others.

The university has also imposed a penalty on a student, the varsity’s General Body of Students said in a statement.

The alleged actions by SAU have come weeks after the protests by a group of students demanding increase in scholarships and stipends.

There was no immediate response from the varsity administration.

The students’ body claimed that last month five students received show-cause notices and were interrogated by an ad-hoc “high-powered” committee and on February 18, the students received emails from the proctor informing them of their expulsion and rustication.

“SAU student community expresses their concerns over the recent wave of disciplinary actions; demands withdrawal of expulsions and rustications,” the statement said.

According to the students’ body, the administration has issued two expulsion notices to Prochetha M (MPhil, sociology) and Apoorva YK (LLM, second year).

Keshav Sawarn (MA, sociology, second year) and Rohit Kumar (PhD scholar, economics) have received rustication letters, while Bonna Chakraborty (MA, sociology, first year) has received a fine, the statement said.

The new wave of disciplinary actions is happening as the family of Ammar Ahmed, an MA (sociology) student who attempted suicide due to “institutional harassment”, goes ahead to file a police complaint against the university authorities, the students’ body said.

Ammar was also “arbitrarily rusticated” by the university administration and suffered prolonged hospitalisation and continues to have long-term complications including difficulty in mobility and speech, it claimed.

“It all began with Ammar collapsing. Today there are four expelled students and two rusticated. The administration is going to build this university upon our tombs,” said Apoorva YK, an expelled student.

Another student termed the university’s action as “institutional violence”.

“Whatever has happened to us and whatever had happened to Ammar should all be viewed as cases of institutional violence and mental harassment,” said Prochetha M, another expelled student.

This is happening two months after the movement for scholarship and stipend hike came to an end, and a month after the high-powered committee proceedings, the students’ body said.

“The SAU administration has consistently abused its power to stifle dissent. The administration went to the extent of heavily punishing the students with expulsions for supporting their friend who suffered from administrative apathy and harassment. This has taken a severe toll on the peaceful and democratic environment at the university. With four students expelled and two rusticated, the future of the international institution appears bleak,” the statement said.

SAU is an international university in Delhi which was established through an agreement between South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries to provide education to students from all eight member nations.

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