Kanhaiya Kumar speech at JNU
JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar delivers a speech at his university upon being released on bailAdnan Abidi/Reuters

The Delhi High Court has put on hold disciplinary action against student leader Kanhaiya Kumar and others. Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) chose to impose punishments on Kumar and two other students for helping organise a protest over the hanging of convicted terrorist, Afzal Guru.

Student Umar Khalid was suspended for one semester, while Anirban Bhattacharya was barred from JNU's campus for five years. Both students, as well as student president Kumar and others, were fined by the university, leading to hunger strikes from a number of students that has been going on for 16 days.

The students then took the matter to the High Court, urging them to take action against the disciplinary action. On 13 May, the Press Trust of India reported: "High Court puts on hold JNU's disciplinary action against Kanhaiya and others till their appeal against University order is decided by appellate aut."

While Kanhaiya was forced to end his hunger strike on 7 May due to medical reasons, the Delhi High Court has now appealed to him to urge other students to end their strike as well. They have also asked him to ensure that he will allow JNU to function properly without "agitation".

According to the Press Trust of India, Justice Manmohan told the student leader: "You (Kanhaiya) can 'articulate' to the students siting on hunger strike from past 16 days to end the agitation, allowing the university to 'function properly'. You are a ranger and if you speak to the students, they will abide by you and will end their strike."

Kanhaiya was arrested on charges of sedition for his role in the protest against the hanging of Guru, where "anti-India slogans" were allegedly raised. The incident sparked a nationwide debate about nationalism, with opposition party politicians condemning the Narendra Modi government for cracking down on freedom of expression in the country.