Six students of Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya (MGAHV) in Wardha, Maharashtra were expelled for writing a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on mob lynching, lockdown in Kashmir, and shielding politicians accused in rape cases among various other issues and organizing a protest over the issue.

According to the order, issued by Acting Registrar Rajeshwar Singh on October 9, the students were expelled for “violating the 2019 assembly code of conduct and interfering in the judicial process” by organising a protest.

Chandan Saroj, one of the expelled student alleged that there were some
100 students taking part in the protest but the university took action against “three Dalit and three OBC students”, The Indian Express reported.

“There were many upper caste students too in solidarity with us,” Saroj said.

The students who were expelled include Chandan Saroj (M Phil, Social Work), Neeraj Kumar (PhD, Gandhi and Peace Studies), Rajesh Sarthi, Rajneesh Ambedkar (Women’s Studies Department), Pankaj Vela (M Phil, Gandhi and Peace Studies), and, Vaibhav Pimpalkar (Diploma, Women’s Studies Department).

All India Students Association (AISA) the left-wing student organisation came out in support of the students. In a Facebook post AISA said, “the students who have been punished also include AISA activist Rajesh Sarthi” and demanded that the suspension letter against the six students must be withdrawn immediately. AISA also said that “freedom of expression of the students cannot be curtailed”.

The acting Vice-Chancellor MGAHV Krishna Kumar Singh said, “Action was taken in view of the prohibition in force against protests in groups during the period of model code of conduct for the Maharashtra assembly election. Our letter is very clear on the matter.”

According to the students, that they had been denied permission to write the letter but there was no mention of the code of conduct.

Chandan Saroj said, “While students did write letters to the PM, the university administration attempted to stall the event. The administration deployed heavy security and stopped students from entering Gandhi Hall (where the students were supposed to gather).

The expulsion letters were issued against six students later that night. “We went ahead and posted the letter to the PM on October 10,” Saroj said.