The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) administration Thursday wrote to Vice-President and Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha M Venkaiah Naidu, and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, regarding the violation of an HC order — prohibiting protests at the university’s administrative block — by two of its MPs.
Rajya Sabha MPs Manoj Jha (RJD) and L Hanumanthaiah (Congress), and Lok Sabha MP Jitendra Choudhury (CPM) Thursday spoke at a JNUTA-organised programme at the administrative block, titled ‘Resist dilution of reservations in public education’.
The letter, however, only names Jha and Choudhury, and not Hanumanthaiah.
“JNU Teachers’ Association had invited MP Shri Manoj Jha and MP Shri Jitendra Choudhury for a protest in campus, which is their democratic right. However, what is shocking… is that JNUTA office-bearers mislead the… MPs and brought them to protest at Administrative Block, which has been prohibited by the (HC) for any protest,” read the letter signed by Acting Registrar P Ajai Babu.
“We believe that had the MPs been informed by JNUTA of this court order and University rules, they would have refrained from joining… We regret the fact that the MPs were used by JNUTA office-bearers… to lead the protest in a prohibited area… We are constrained to bring this to your notice and seek your guidance on honouring the court order,” it further read.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Choudhury said the letter showed how “low” the JNU administration had stooped: “We did not do the programme in secret at night, it happened in daylight. JNU officials could have come and spoken to us if there was a problem… Instead, they were hiding and taking videos…”
JNUTA secretary Avinash Kumar also said, “There is no court order disallowing JNUTA from holding a meeting…”
During the public meeting, Jha had said, “The 13-point roster (new recruitment formula) will change the character of every university in a regressive manner… the kind of freedom, diversity and pluralism that we and other universities have will go away probably in less than five years.”
Dalit rights groups that held protest marches against the UGC faculty quota and upper caste EWS reservation Thursday are planning to launch a nation-wide ‘Right to regular colleges’ campaign on March 23, demanding setting up of more colleges.
Earlier in the day, at the Jantar Mantar protest, where Manoj Jha was also present, Tejashwi Yadav, the leader of opposition in Bihar’s Legislative Assembly, hit out at the government.
“The present government is against Dalits, backward classes and minorities and they are also anti-reservation and anti-constitution. By implementing the 13-point roster, they don’t want to include Dalits, backward classes and tribes in mainstream society,” he said.
(With inputs from Vatsala Srivastava, an intern with The Indian Express)