JNU is politically charged, but not anti-national, says Vice-Chancellor Santishree Pandit
Every university has a lunatic fringe and JNU is no different, she said.
The campus of Jawaharlal Nehru University might be politically charged, but it is not anti-national, Vice-Chancellor Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit told The Indian Express on Monday.
“More than 60% of the bureaucracy serving the country is from this very university [JNU],” Pandit said. “Over 90% of the students are apolitical, and they have come here to make a career.”
Pandit said that most of the students on the campus belong to underprivileged backgrounds, and any negative branding will hurt their chances of procuring jobs, The Indian Express reported.
“Every university has a lunatic fringe and JNU is no different from others,” the vice-chancellor said.
The university had been marred by several controversies, including the 2016 sedition row and the disappearance of Najeeb Ahmed, a Master of Science student who was allegedly beaten up by students from the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.
In Monday’s interview, Pandit also spoke about the violence that broke out on the campus on April 10 allegedly over meat being served in a hostel mess on Ram Navami.
Pandit said the administration has “no idea what was the trigger” behind the clashes as many different versions emerged.
“There are versions from every side,” she said. “The institute’s proctorial committee is investigating it and will submit its report soon.”
Members of the Left student outfits alleged that those affiliated to the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi, the student affiliate of the Bharatiya Janata Party, tried to stop non-vegetarian food being cooked in the university’s Kaveri Hostel. Meanwhile, the Hindutva student organisation accused Left activists of disrupting a religious ceremony to mark Ram Navami.
Pandit also acknowledged that there have been instances of security lapses on the campus in the past.
“There have been complaints regarding thefts in faculty housing, and security breaches,” Pandit told The Indian Express. “I was told that there were issues and it was not done through a proper tendering process. We will put out an advertisement in a month’s time and change the security.”