The Ministry of Human Resource Development on Saturday refuted reports that its University Grants Commission was cutting funding for the Centres for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy across the country. UGC said in a statement that the reports carried by several publications were “false news” based on a “forged letter”, and that the media organisations should have contacted the commission before carrying the articles.
The reports had quoted a letter addressed to the registrar of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, which said that funding to the institution’s centre would be stopped. The commission said it had verified that the letter, purportedly written by UGC Under Secretary Sushma Rathore, was not issued or dispatched by the office. “The perusal of the letter received by JNU shows that the letter was faxed from Mumbai number with 022 STD code. University Grants Commission does not have an office in Mumbai,” UGC said, adding that it was considering seeking legal action in the matter.
The statement clarified that the commission had started Centres for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy in several universities “on a plan-to-plan basis”, and that their presence would be expanded from April 1. This, it said, was based on whether the “centres give satisfactory progress in the areas of their focus”.
The commission added that it had issued JNU a letter on January 20, 2011, informing the varsity that the centres would continue to operate, and that the UGC would monitor its functioning. In letters dated September 22, 2015, and December 23, 2015, UGC said it had informed JNU of its intention to continue the centres on “the plan-to-plan basis”.
The varsity has been in news over protests held on its campus and other matters. It has also been accused of harbouring “anti-national movements”. Its students Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya and Kanhaiya Kumar were arrested on charges of sedition and later released on bail.