A student collapsed and was admitted to the intensive care unit of a hospital on Monday after the Gauhati University expelled him for anti-varsity activity following an “objectionable Facebook post” and an RTI application seeking the institute’s financial status.
The university also rusticated two other students for a year.
An order signed by the 68-year-old state university’s secretary, Hemanta Nath, said post-graduate student Milton Handique has been expelled. Rezaul Karim, pursuing law, and Hrittick Saikia, pursuing mass communication have been rusticated.
Handique, his colleagues said, collapsed after he was served the notice. “He is in the ICU of a private hospital where he was taken after the university hospital declined to admit him,” a students’ leader said, seeking anonymity.
He added that students across all departments would be protesting the “design to destroy the career of students who exercising their right to know”.
A spokesperson of the Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, where Handique is admitted, said his condition was serious.
A notification issued by the university said: “...after completion of the enquiry and hearing conducted by the Residence, Health and Discipline Board (R.H&D), GU, in its meeting held on 22-04-2016 and as approved by the Vice Chancellor, Gauhati University, dated 27-05-2016, disciplinary actions have been taken.”
The enquiry found the students “guilty of indulging in activities detrimental to the university amounting to indiscipline”, it added.
Nath and other university officials did not take phone calls made by Hindustan Times.
The students, however, said the rustication was politically motivated since the trio had been criticising the university authorities, including vice-chancellor Mridul Hazarika, for alleged financial irregularities.
“Handique’s fault was that he used Facebook to criticise the university authorities for a third semester paper leak last year. He did not name anyone, but the authorities had been on a witch-hunt since,” a colleague said.
Karim and Saikia, students said, had a few months ago filed an application under the Right To Information Act seeking the GU’s balance-sheet and details of expenditure made in the past few years.
Students’ organisations said the GU was following the “dangerous dictatorial trend” that Delhi’s Jawaharlal University set in April by rusticating Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya besides imposing a fine on Kanhaiya Kumar.