Union Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan Saturday raised the issue of “discrimination” against teaching and non-teaching employees and students of the SC/ST categories in Jawaharlal Nehru University, saying “allegations in the regard are serious and need to be taken care of”. While V-C M Jagadesh Kumar did not respond to calls and texts seeking a comment, Registrar Pramod Kumar “strongly refuted” the allegations.
After meeting a delegation of JNU teachers from the SC/ST categories, Paswan said, “SC/ST category students are most affected by the reduction in admission seats and fee hike by the JNU administration. Despite the prescribed eligibility, JNU teachers from SC/ST category are being rejected during promotion.”
In a series of tweets, Paswan alleged: “The delegation informed that despite qualified candidates for the appointment of SC/ST teachers in JNU, the posts are being left vacant by disqualifying them. The allegations levelled by delegation are serious and need to be taken care of.” He also tagged the official Twitter handles of the PMO, the MHRD and Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal.
Paswan later said he spoke over the phone to Pokhriyal, who informed him that there is no reduction of seats and the fee hike has been withdrawn.
“There is no issue of reduction in the interests of SC/ST. The Government is committed to encourage their interests. The issue will be resolved through a discussion with HRD Minister on Tuesday or Wednesday next week when I return to Delhi from Patna,” Paswan later tweeted.
Paswan’s comments come in the wake of growing demands from students seeking the V-C’s removal. Veteran BJP leader Murali Manohar Joshi had also demanded Kumar’s resignation.
Sources said the delegation also submitted a nine-point memorandum to Paswan, giving details of the alleged discrimination against SC/ST faculty, non-teaching employees and students by the V-C since he joined in 2016. The delegation told the Lok Janshakti Party leader that no SC/ST faculty has been appointed as rector in the JNU administration, despite there being three vacancies for the same, said sources.
The Registrar, however, said: “Such allegations have no evidence and are clearly made to villify an institution that has always stood for marginalised sections”.
“JNU admission policy and practice has successfully given every opportunity and relaxation to SC/ST students, while seeking to fill up vacant seats. All SC/ST candidates who qualify in the written examination in the entrance test are called for viva voce without shortlisting. In the hostel allotment every year, first step has invariably been to allot room to SC/ST students,” he said.
He said that while “all SC/ST posts have been filled up in the non-teaching category, full-speed efforts are being made to fill up vacant teaching posts” and a special drive was also conducted for this.
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