Nagpur- In the corridors of Wardha University, a fervent battle rages on as students continue their relentless protest against what they perceive as unjust treatment and arbitrary expulsions. What began as dissent against alleged exploitation and mistreatment has evolved into a symbol of resilience and defiance against administrative injustices. While one of the student's hunger strike led to hospitalization, the Bombay High Court bench at Nagpur has issued notice of another student's plea over arbitrary expulsions without valid grounds against the administration. The hearing is slated for February 16.
The Mooknayak previously reported on students at Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya in Wardha, Maharashtra, who accused the university of prolonged exploitation and mistreatment. Three research scholars were expelled, and two students were suspended, allegedly for their use of social media to disseminate information and participation in protests during the Vice Chancellor's speech. Since then, the dismissed students have been protesting, with Vivek Mishra undertaking a hunger strike, later leading to his hospitalization.
Vivek Mishra, a graduate student in Theatre at the university, was abruptly expelled from his hostel room on 27th January with just two hours' notice, reportedly for posting about Republic Day protests on social media. Despite requesting evidence, he was forcefully removed by guards, prompting him to file a police complaint against the administration, including the registrar, for threats to his safety.
The Mooknayak spoke with Mishra and his family members, who revealed the dire circumstances he has been facing. Abhisekh Mishra, Vivek's brother, who has also joined the strike, remarked, "My brother has been on a hunger strike for the last eight days and has been receiving medical care for the past four days."
Speaking weakly over the phone, Vivek expressed, "I am on a hunger strike against my dismissal from the hostel." He continued, "On the fourth day of my strike, I fell ill and was taken to Wardha Civil Hospital. Since I did not improve, I was referred to Govt. Medical College of Nagpur."
His health complications continued as doctors revealed infections in his kidney and urinary bladder. "The doctors told me if I continue the hunger strike, I might lose one of my kidneys," Vivek added.
Another shocking revelation for the dismissed student was the realization of his university affiliation status. Vivek stated, "I was first dismissed from the hostel, but later I learned that I was rusticated from the university as well. This occurred while I was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU)." Saddened, he added, "The administration never visited me while I was in the hospital, but they did not forget to retaliate against me."
Despite his health complications, Vivek returned to the protest site and resumed his strike after being discharged from the hospital. He rejoined his peers at the site early in the morning, at 4:00 AM.
Expelled students of Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University have taken their protest to the High Court after facing alleged harassment from the administration. Researcher Niranjan Oberoi, who filed a petition in court, accused the university administration of arbitrary expulsions without valid grounds. He demanded impartial investigation and action against the Vice Chancellor and Registrar.
Niranjan revealed to The Mooknayak, "I filed a petition against my expulsion at the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court on 1st February. On Friday, the court issued a notice asking the administration to respond to the petition by 16th February. The notice has been issued against both the registrar and the vice-chancellor."
The expelled researcher added, "According to university rules, before expelling a student, a notice must be issued, allowing the student to respond. Subsequent hearings by a disciplinary committee should be scheduled." "None of that occurred in my case," remarked Niranjan.
The Mooknayak reporter sent a mail to the registrar of the university on 28th January asking for a comment on the alleged unfair appointment of the Vice-Chancellor and expulsion of the students. There has been no response from them yet.
In August 2023, the former Vice Chancellor of the university resigned. According to protocol, the most senior professor, L. Karunyakara, was expected to assume the position. However, after two months, Bhimaraya Metri, the previous director of IIM Nagpur, was appointed as the new Vice Chancellor, bypassing Professor Karunyakara. This decision sparked protests from student unions, leading to multiple students being dismissed for unfurling banners opposing the new VC during a flag hoisting ceremony on Republic Day and for posting about it on social media.