Veteran Bharatiya Janata Party leader Murli Manohar Joshi on Thursday said that Jawaharlal Nehru University Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar should be sacked. In a tweet, Joshi said that “reports” suggest that the Ministry of Human Resource Development had twice advised Kumar to implement some reasonable formula to address the fee hike problem, and to reach out to students and teachers, but he ignored the advice.

Joshi, who is now part of the BJP’s “margadarshak mandal”, was the minister of human resource development in Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led governments from 1998 to 2004.

Protests against the hike in hostel and mess fees had broken out at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in November last year. The protests did not subside despite a partial rollback of the fee hike by the JNU administration.

Earlier this week, JNU Students’ Union President Aishe Ghosh said that she was not involved in any part of the alleged vandalism in the university’s server room on January 1 and 4. The police had filed two first information reports against Ghosh, ironically on the same day, January 5, that a masked mob entered JNU and attacked students and teachers, injuring 34 of them, including the JNU Students’ Union president.

Ghosh said that the students’ union had at a meeting on December 31 taken a decision that they would boycott the semester registration process, as a protest against the increase in fees.

The JNU Teachers’ Association met officials of the Ministry of Human Resource Development earlier on Thursday, and demanded the sacking of Jagadesh Kumar. JNU students also organised a protest at Mandi House in New Delhi, demanding the vice chancellor’s sacking. The JNU Students’ Union has alleged that Kumar was behind the violence on the campus on January 5. Some Opposition parties, including the Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist), have also demanded that Kumar be sacked.

The Delhi Police also stopped a march by another group of JNU students to the Rashtrapati Bhavan, and attacked the students with batons, detaining many of them.