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JNU student accused of disrupting meeting goes on hunger strike

The EC contended that the agenda was passed in a previous AC meeting.

Written by Aranya Shankar | New Delhi |
January 22, 2017 12:47:59 am
jnu, jnu news, jnu strike, jnu hunger strike, jnu strike news, jnu meeting, delhi news On Friday, Yadav had threatened to burn his degree. (Express Archive)

Dileep Yadav, one of the nine students suspended by Jawaharlal Nehru University for “disrupting” an Academic Council (AC) meeting, has gone on an indefinite hunger strike demanding that interview marks be reduced and weightage be given to entrance tests in the admission process for MPhil and PhD programmes.

The University’s Executive Council (EC) had earlier approved the adoption of the May 2016 UGC gazette notification, which makes interview the sole criterion in MPhil and PhD admissions. The EC contended that the agenda was passed in a previous AC meeting.

This prompted 34 AC members to counter the claim. The JNU Teachers’ Association also said it would request President Pranab Mukherjee to annul the EC meeting. As of now, JNU follows a 70:30 formula for written test and viva-voce. However, arguing that viva-voce marks lead to discrimination, students across the board have been demanding that the marks be reduced.

Yadav, a member of the United OBC Forum, has pitched a tent outside the Administrative Block, defying the administration’s orders not to hold any meeting or protest within a 20 metre radius of the building.

In a tweet on Friday night, Registrar Pramod Kumar said, “It’s unfortunate that some JNU students are blocking construction of ramp needed for PwD (people with disability) students to access Admin Block.”

However, denying this, Yadav said, “Our demands are very straightforward. We want the viva-voce marks to be reduced and the Abdul Nafey Committee recommendations to be followed for a fair admission policy. We also want the AC and EC meetings to be reconvened at the earliest, because agenda items that were not passed in the AC were still tabled by the EC.”

“I’ve been sitting on a hunger strike since 7 pm Friday. I will not even drink water till the vice-chancellor pays heed to our demands. If he does not respond to our call by Monday, we will take some other action to escalate our protest,” he added.

On Friday evening, Yadav had threatened to burn his degree in full public view at the Administrative Block, but was stopped by professors and other students. “Students are being discriminated against because of their caste and identities. A degree is not a matter of employment, but a matter of equality. I am left with no option but to burn my degree,” he had said.

The suspended students have been accusing the administration of going against its own committee report, which had suggested reducing viva-voce marks from 30 to 15 after studying admission-related data of 2012-15. The eight-member Abdul Nafey Committee had said the data “indicates discrimination”.

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