Continuing the crackdown on Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU), the administration has issued a letter barring JNUSU office bearers, President Mohit Pandey, General Secretary Satarupa Chakraborty and Joint Secretary Tabrez Hasan, from participating in all meeting of the Statutory Bodies and Committees of the University.
On May 16th, the second round of 143rd Academic Council (AC) had witnessed high-handedness of the university administration. This was a continuation of 143rd AC which had been adjourned on May 9. The meeting was held to discuss the issues around JNU admission policy and MPhil-PhD seat cut. During the meeting, VC, Prof. Jagdish Kumar, did not allow any sound of dissent. He and his brigade imposed their decisions on students and teachers.
Referring the suspension letter, JNUSU General Secretary Satarupa Chakraborty remarked: “This is nothing but a planned attack against us where, first we were not allowed to voice our dissent, then we had to undergo harassments by few faculty members in AC, followed by a severe politically motivated act by the JNU administration to restrict us from participating in important decision making bodies“. Satarupa Chakraborty also added that JNUSU hasn’t received any letter regarding the Standing Committee meeting which is scheduled on Friday.
Condemning the undemocratic actions of the university administration, JNUSU has released a press statement.
Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU)
In an extremely shameful manner, the JNU administration continuing its history of targeting the JNUSU office bearers and the students’ activists, issued an extremely abhorrent notice to the JNUSU President and Joint Secretary on late evening of 21st June 2017. The notice shockingly mentions “Mr. Mohit Pandey/Tabrez Hasan is here by suspended from participating in all Statutory Bodies and Committees of the University with immediate effect until the final outcome of the Proctorial Enquiry Committee.”
The JNUSU condemns, in the strongest term possible, sheer targeting of a student representatives by the JNU administration. The manner in which a student representatives has been barred from attending important meetings that decide matters concerning students exposes the real intention of the administration. True to its dark history, the JNU administration under the leadership of Mr. M. Jagadesh Kumar yet again attempted to silence the critical voices where tough and uncomfortable questions were raised by the students’ representatives in the 143rd Academic Council meeting. Besides, it is distressful to witness how the administration is shielding the act of physical abuse and threats by a handful of its loyal faculty members by criminalising the student representatives.
Trampling Upon AC Functioning by the VC and His Cohorts-Imposing Seat-Cut Through Means Most Foul
We would like to highlight once again the sequence of events that took place in 143rd AC held on 16th June 2017. The VC opened the meeting by announcing the minutes of 142nd AC to be 'confirmed'. He not only insulted the members of AC, but also showed the audacity to announce unapproved minutes as 'confirmed'. Despite a long five hour meeting on 5th May 2017 AC which has taken a position categorically stating the forgery of 142nd AC’s minutes and thereby mandated to incorporate amendments into the minutes, the VC unilaterally declared the 'minutes' to be "passed" on 16th June 2017, without any change. While the JNUSU representatives and a vast majority of faculty collective continuously requested the Chair (the VC) to record the note of dissent, the VC and the Registrar went on reading agenda items, thereby declaring all agenda items as 'passed' without letting any member except their cohorts speak.
Let us recall the most crucial issues in the AC 'minutes' pertained to the massive seat-cut inflicted in M.Phil./Ph.D. admissions which majority members in the AC were opposed to, but the VC and his team were hell bent to show 'approval' of AC by hook or crook.
The JNUSU representatives and some faculty members kept insisting their legitimate concerns and objections against this open trampling of AC procedures by the VC chairing the meeting.
However, the script was ready on the part of administration as some of its chosen teachers were prepared to physically charge the faculty members and JNUSU representatives when we raised our objections.
In an extremely shameful and objectionable manner when two faculty members Ashwini Mahapatra and Atul Johri physically charged JNUSU representatives (a video of which is already in the public domain) in presence of the Chair, VC and the Registrar (Secretary of AC) chose to threaten the student representatives instead of bringing an order in the house. This disruption in AC and threatening by two faculty members were not only put under the carpet by the administration, but also, measures were taken by the VC to shield them by criminalising JNUSU’s President and Joint Secretary.
Unprecedented in JNU History
Indeed, the 'adjourned' session of the 143rd AC meeting held on 16 June will go down in JNU's history as the darkest episode, where VC trampled upon all norms of democratic norms of conduct of an august body like AC, where manhandling and abusive behaviour by some teachers loyal to the VC were unleashed on teacher and student members on the floor of the AC to silence differing opinions, with the sole purpose of imposing the grossly anti-student seat-cut agenda at all cost. The meeting saw some dangerous trends - (a) VC thoroughly misused his Chair where he kept reading out his agenda as 'passed' without allowing any discussion to take place, (b) VC even refused to record the dissent of the students and teachers which have already been submitted even in writing, (c) teachers who are not official members of the AC and who were not 'invitees' even in the original part of the 143 AC meeting of 5 May, but who flaunt their political pro VC loyalties, were 'invited' during the adjourned session of the 143rd AC Meeting only to orchestrate hooliganism and intimidate members inside the AC.
We have been witnessing that the voices of dissent are curtailed across campuses and in different states protests are being silenced. With the BJP-led government enjoying its majority in the parliament, continuous attacks are being unleashed on students, activists and people from the margins. Following the trend, concerted attacks are happening on universities where attempts are being made to destroy democratic institutions and targeting of student activists.
The JNUSU categorically states that such attempts will be thoroughly resisted and we will not be cowed down with such criminalization by the administration.
The JNUSU calls for an effigy burning of BJP Govt. and its stooge JNU administration on 22 June at 5:30 pm in Sabarmati Dhaba. We assert our position that any undemocratic and authoritarian move by JNU administration and its attempt to impose anti-student policies will be resisted in all manners.
Mohit K. Pandey, President.
Amal P.P., Vice-President.
Satarupa Chakraborty, General Secretary.
Tabrez Hassan, Joint Secretary.