Political leaders from various opposition parties Tuesday joined the ‘March to Parliament’, called by the Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) against impending seat cuts in MPhil and PhD admissions. More than 1,000 students, teachers and alumni walked from Mandi House as heavy security was deployed to prevent any flare-up.
Several students have been “occupying” the JNU administrative block for last five days over the issue. The university Tuesday clarified its position and said, “From the coming session, the number of vacancies will be calculated based on the upper caps (for faculty members) given in 2016 UGC gazette.” After Tuesday’s march, the JNUTA submitted a memorandum to the Lok Sabha Speaker, asking her to intervene and alleged that the Vice-Chancellor was violating two parliamentary acts — the JNU Act of 1966 and The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act 2006 — by not discussing admission-related matters in the Academic Council (AC) and reducing the number of seats, respectively.
The Democratic Students’ Federation, a students’ group, also submitted roughly 4,500 signatures to the President, asking him to intervene. Attacking the Centre, Congress MP Digivijaya Singh said, “JNU is the most ideologically committed university in the country, so it’s naturally the prime target of the government. They want to impose their ideology on all universities, and now the V-C wants to impose the UGC guidelines on Acts of Parliament. I can’t understand what kind of a V-C cuts seats in his own university, and gives Tughlaki farman instead of allowing discussion.”
CPM leader A Sampath said, “This is being done because if the intake of students comes down, voices of dissent will also come down”. CPI leader D Raja said, “The UGC cannot be above Parliament, it cannot be above Constitution. It cannot conduct itself as an authoritarian, autocratic institution.”
JD(U)’s Ali Anwar urged students to “take this issue outside the university”.