New Delhi: JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar on Thursday refused to end a protest fast he began a week ago despite doctors’ appeals after his health deteriorated and he was moved to a hospital.
Doctors urged the leftist president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) to end his protest after his ketone level rose to “dangerous” levels, fellow student Umar Khalid said.
Kanhaiya Kumar, who is on bail after being charged with sedition, launched his hunger strike at the campus on April 28 in protest against the fine slapped on him and other students by a JNU committee.
“Kanhaiya continues his hunger strike. He was given saline without glucose,” said Khalid, who is also among 19 students on hunger strike at the campus.
The university management meted out varying degrees of punishment to students for their role in a February 9 event to commemorate parliament attack convict Afzal Guru’s third death anniversary.
Some of the students, penalized for indiscipline and raising “objectionable” slogans, were rusticated. Kanhaiya Kumar was fined Rs.10,000.
The punishment came two months after Kanhaiya Kumar, Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya were jailed and then released for taking part in the event.
Khalid, rusticated for a semester, said Kanhaiya Kumar slipped into a semi-conscious state and started vomitting on Thursday morning after which he was admitted to the JNU health centre.
“There is a possibility of internal damage to (his) organs,” Khalid said.
“The health of the rest of the students is also deteriorating fast. All students have lost around 4-6 kg of weight,” Khalid said.
He said the JNU administration has not moved even after eight days of the “indefinite hunger strike”.
Khalid said the ketone level of other students was also dangerously high, meaning their bodies had started burning fats for energy as they have not eaten anything for eight days.
On Wednesday, 170 JNU teachers joined the protesting students on a day’s hunger strike in solidarity.