Student union representatives and several teachers Friday alleged that they were “heckled” by certain faculty members at an Academic Council (AC) meeting of JNU. They also argued that the V-C declared agenda items passed without any discussion and refused to record their dissent. JNUSU Joint Secretary Tabrez Hassan filed a police complaint, alleging that Atul Johri — a special invitee by the V-C — held him by the collar and told him he was “just an observer”.
The 143rd AC meeting, held to discuss matters of JNU’s admission policy, including the adoption of the UGC gazette notification, was reconvened on Friday after the last meeting on May 9 was adjourned by the V-C midway. Both the JNUSU and the JNUTA had written to the V-C that such a crucial meeting should not be held during the summer vacations. Terming the meeting an “extraordinary exercise in autocratic, disrespectful behaviour”, JNUTA President Ayesha Kidwai said, “Most members were not allowed to put forth their opinions. On matters relating to admissions and selection committees, discussion was prevented saying the matters are sub-judice.”
A total of 39 AC members wanted to submit a dissent note, but were told that “each individual should separately submit a motion/note of dissent”, she said. Rector Chintamani Mahapatra denied the allegations. “They were asked to submit dissent individually because AC meetings are not a place for trade unionism. All the rules and regulations of recording dissent will be followed when the minutes are prepared,” he said, adding that the AC also approved the establishment of Special Centre for Disaster Research and the creation of certificate course of Proficiency in Yoga Philosophy. JNUSU president Mohit Pandey said faculty members “Atul Johri and Ashwini Mohapatra heckled Hassan”.
Johri is not an AC member but a special invitee to the meeting by the V-C. Mohapatra denied the charges. “These are baseless charges. Let them provide evidence. Mohit called me an RSS gunda when I stopped him from going towards the V-C and also recording the proceedings on his mobile,” Johri said.