A panel appointed by the Union Ministry of Human Research and Development reached Jawaharlal Nehru University campus to negotiate and hold talks with the students agitating over hostel fee hike issue. “We spoke to the students union representatives and took their suggestions into account. The meeting went on for two hours where we dwelled upon the reasons behind the discord between the varsity administration and students,” a committee member told PTI on the condition of anonymity.
“This was the final meeting and we have listened to all perspectives. We will now submit our recommendations within a week’s time,” he added.
V S Chauhan told reporters after the meeting, “the discussion has been positive but the final call will be taken by the JNU administration. We will submit the recommendations soon”.
The panel members had to resort to entering the campus from the back gate as students had formed a human chain at the campus to demand complete rollback of fee hike.
“Students are standing here to welcome the high powered committee. The students want to tell them about the issues arising due to fee hike, former students’ union president N Sai Balaji was quoted as saying by PTI ahead of the panel’s visit.
The HRD Ministry had constituted the three-member committee on Monday to suggest ways to restore normalcy at the premier university. The committee comprises of former UGC chairman V S Chauhan, AICTE chairman Anil Sahasrabudhe and UGC Secretary Rajnish Jain and is tasked to “recommend ways to restore normal functioning in JNU”.
Incidentally, Chauhan was the ministry’s first choice for the post of V-C at JNU in 2016. However, the then President Pranab Mukherjee had informed former HRD Minister Smriti Irani’s recommendation to appoint M Jagadesh Kumar as the V-C.
On Monday, HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal met Union Home Minister Amit Shah to brief him about the protest and its background. The Prime Minister’s Office is also learnt to be monitoring the situation.
The first meeting of the panel with JNU Students Union (JNUSU) office-bearers, student counsellors and hostel presidents took place on Wednesday at HRD Ministry. The panel has also met JNU Teachers Association (JNUTA) members and Deans of all schools.