It has been one year since Prof M. Jagadesh Kumar assumed the office of Vice-Chancellor in JNU. In less than a month, JNU witnessed a severe onslaught. The police were invited into the campus; a raid without warrant happened in students’ hostels, sedition charges were slapped on student leaders, JNU administration gave continuous statements declaring the student leaders as guilty of raising anti-national slogans and nine students were debarred without any inquiry.
Some months back, a student of JNU, Najeeb Ahmad mysteriously disappeared from the campus after repeated assault on him by a group of ABVP activists. It has been more than 100 days, we still do not know the whereabouts of Najeeb Ahmad. When the incident was reported to the administration, the authority refused to take any responsibility and action against the culprits. Moreover, the original report by the Proctor’s office, which clearly mentioned about violence by the assaulters of Najeeb and recommended strict punishment, was manipulated and changed by the VC. As a result, Najeeb’s assaulters were awarded ‘new’ hostels and the whole incident was reduced to a mere ‘scuffle’.
Interestingly, the VC chose to discuss JNU’s admission policy and other important issues during the semester break. In an unprecedented manner, first time in the history of JNU, the Academic Council (AC) meeting was called amidst semester break. Despite the fact that the JNUSU, JNUTA and many members of the AC requested the V-C to postpone it through written representations, he went ahead with 142nd AC meeting. It was conducted in a manner where false and manipulated minutes were placed, the teachers were intimidated and all agendas were declared as ‘passed’ without any discussion. This included the agenda of dubious courses without any academic rhyme or reason.
UGC Gazette notification of May 5 on the MPhil. / PhD admissions has become the latest weapon in the hands of the administration to dismantle JNU with an overarching agenda of massive seat cuts, scuttling of reservation and murder of social justice. Struggle of the JNU student movement over the years ensured the historic admission policy with deprivation point model that ensured entry of students from the most socio-economically and regionally deprived backgrounds. Now, the current administration is seeking to undo all these historic gains by sabotaging this admission policy by subverting the autonomy of the university.
Prof Jagadesh Kumar in his recent interview to The Indian Express said that JNU is known for its academic excellence and the challenge is to move to the next level and become more socially relevant. Sadly, the pious views of the V-C are in direct contradiction with his actions on ground. We have no doubts in saying that the real agenda of JNU administration today is to push the RSS-BJP’s model of privatization, saffronisation and murder of social justice in higher education. JNU student movement has bravely resisted the full frontal attack of the state machinery over the last one year and we are confident that the present multi-pronged attacks will be defeated as well.