The Ministry of Human Resource Development on Thursday ruled out the removal of Jawaharlal Nehru University Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar, PTI reported. The ministry authorities are expected to meet student union representatives and university officials, including Kumar, on Friday.
“Removing the VC is not the solution,” said HRD Secretary Amit Khare. “The basic issue on which the whole problem has arisen needs to be addressed first. Changing X, Y or Z is not as important as resolving the issues that have come up. The basic bone of contention needs to be resolved.” Khare met a delegation of JNU Students Union and Teachers Association on Thursday, where they demanded Kumar’s resignation.
Students have alleged that the revised fee structure that was decided during the HRD ministry’s intervention was not implemented. Khare claimed that the ministry was working on settling the problems and restoring normalcy in the university.
“As far as the fee issue is concerned, there has been no deviation from the formula arrived at the HRD Ministry last month,” Khare claimed. “As decided, students are not being charged any services or utility fees. We have also written to UGC [University Grants Commission] to release funds for covering the utility and service charges as decided.”
According to the “formula” brokered by the ministry, the JNU administration will only charge the increased room rent, while the service and utility charges would be borne by the UGC. The students were asked to end the protests and open communication with the university authorities. In November last year, the HRD ministry had set up a three-member panel to mediate between the protesting students and the administration.
Following the meeting of JNUSU and JNUTA on Thursday, several students tried to march to Rashtrapati Bhavan, the president’s official residence. However, Delhi Police stopped the protestors, baton-charged them and detained most of them while packing them into buses. The protestors were led by JNU Students’ Union President Aishe Ghosh.
“Dialogue is not the response to the injuries I have sustained on my head,” Ghosh told The Indian Express. “The response to my injuries has to be the MHRD instructing the V-C’s removal.” The students’ union Vice President Saket Moon said the protesting students and teachers had asserted that a resolution was not possible unless the vice chancellor was sacked.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Police has received three additional complaints in connection with the violence last week in the JNU campus. A total of 14 complaints have been registered so far. They will be investigated by the Crime Branch, an unidentified official said.
The masked mob attack
A mob – allegedly comprising Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad members armed with sticks and hammers – attacked students and teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi on Sunday evening, injuring at least 34 people. The outfit is the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s student wing.
Later, a group of right-wing activists sloganeering outside the university’s main gate heckled, abused and threatened several journalists who were reporting on the violence. Several eye-witness accounts and videos indicated that in most places, police personnel present at JNU did almost nothing to stop the violence, and, in fact, allowed the attackers to exit the university without apprehending them.
Members of the ABVP have blamed the violence on “Naxals” and leftist students. However, Scroll.in traced WhatsApp messages planning the attack – as well as celebrating it – to the Hindutva organisation’s activists.