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'Blind leaders immune to suffering,' says St Stephen's principal after student’s death due to COVID-19, clarifies later

Satyam Jha, an 18-year-old first-year student of St Stephen's, died due to COVID-19 at a private hospital in Kota, Rajasthan on May 25.

May 29, 2021 / 11:11 AM IST
The clarification came after the Students' Federation of India (SFI), a Left-wing student organisation politically aligned to the CPI, recalled Jha's association with the student body. | St Stephens College, Delhi (Image: DU Admissions)

The clarification came after the Students' Federation of India (SFI), a Left-wing student organisation politically aligned to the CPI, recalled Jha's association with the student body. | St Stephens College, Delhi (Image: DU Admissions)

Delhi University's St Stephen's College, on May 28, issued a clarification on principal John Varghese's note which said "blind leaders are immune to suffering" after the death of an 18-year-old student due to COVID-19.

Satyam Jha, an 18-year-old first-year student of St Stephen's, died due to COVID-19 at a private hospital in Kota, Rajasthan on May 25.

Remembering his student in a note titled 'From Pandemic to Panacea', Varghese, said, "A young man looking forward to life, expectantly... The virus does not respect scientists, armies or the police force; all have been led on a destructive trail of death and defiance."

"The claims of belligerent and blind leaders who are immune to the suffering and deaths of simple people also show that we are veering off dangerously to becoming a cruel and insensitive race," he said in his message.

Clarifying the remark in a statement posted on the college's website, Varghese on May 28 said that the institution neither encourages politics on its campus neither does it recognise any political body - local, national or international among the College community.

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"I am deeply saddened by the divisive, mischievous and irresponsible nature of such media reports. Common sense and propriety demand that every communication be treated in its entirety, paying full attention to the context in which it is made," the principal said in the statement.

The clarification came after the Students' Federation of India (SFI), a Left-wing student organisation politically aligned to the CPI, recalled Jha's association with the student body.

"In keeping with the established tradition of the college, the pursuit of intellectual knowledge, academic interest and enquiry are permitted and encouraged but the college does not endorse, recognise, support or encourage any political party or agenda on its campus," Varghese added.

Jha, the first-year student of BA (Honours) History, died of COVID-19 at a hospital in Kota, the Students' Federation of India (SFI) had said.

"He had left Howrah's Bally for Kota in the last week of April for some family work and was attending online classes owing to the pandemic situation. Satyam succumbed to the disease after being on a ventilator for eight days. He had also been elected as a member of the new organising committee of SFI St Stephen's formed in April," the SFI said.



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first published: May 29, 2021 11:11 am
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