(From left) Pravin Upreti, Nakul Sharma, Praveen Basnett and Loknath Chettri Credit: EastMojo

Gangtok: Four students from Geyzing Government College who were part of the protest and arrested earlier this month have been expelled from the college.

The four students are Pravin Upreti from Sociology (3rd semester), Praveen Basnett from Political Science (3rd semester), Nakul Sharma from physical education (5th semester) and Loknath Chettri from English Department (3rd semester).

Eighteen students were arrested on February 5 night, with Upreti and Basnett charged with multiple cases, as per the FIR filed by the Additional Chief Secretary GP Upadhaya in Sadar Police Station.

Chettri and Sharma were arrested by the Ranipool Police Station for a day.

Three students received the letter on Thursday, while one student had to attend the meeting via phone call. The meeting took place on Friday and was attended by Principal Kishore Kumar Rai and other faculties. Both the parents and the students denied receiving the letter of expulsion, claiming that they had done nothing wrong by protesting for early completion of the college.

The expulsion of students has invoked strong criticism on social media

EastMojo tried to get a comment from the Principal of Geyzing Degree College. “There are officials above me, and once they approve, I will give my reason for the expulsion of these four students,” he said.

“They forcibly gave the expulsion letter to our parents and guardians. Our parents and guardians defended us, saying we didnā€™t do anything wrong by demanding early completion of the college. They argued that we are not anti-nationals or terrorists as claimed by the ruling party and government,” Pravin Upreti told EastMojo.

Another student, Praveen Basnett stated, “They said when the 32 students went to Gangtok for protest, there was no prior information to the institute’s administration. Our parents argued why only four students were expelled. The college administration claimed that others would also be called later. Our parents denied accepting the expulsion letter, asserting that a final decision should be taken after parents and guardians of all 32 students are called for a meeting”.

Also, about 10 students who protested said their college identity cards were not being renewed on the pretext that they are no longer students at the college.

Netizens expressed soliarity with students

“We were hopeful that some form of discussion would happen with regards to the protest, arrest and early completion of college. We were hopeful of a conclusion. However, they had decided beforehand we would be expelled. We were called only to be informed of the decision.

When we enrol, we sign an undertaking. It states that students will not be a part of any protest or politics in the college,” stated Nakul Sharma.

Students asserted that they had never participated in any political event or political protest in college uniform. “We did not defame the college. We have the right to demand in a democracy,” he added.

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