On Tuesday, the 13th day of Jawaharlal Nehru University students' fast protesting the High Level Enquiry Committee report, the first Academic Council meet since the events of February 9 was held.
The highlight of the meeting was the Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar’s abrupt and hasty retreat from the meeting. The video above is of the VC jogging away, with security guards, protesting students and other enthusiastic recorders of the happening in tow.
While members of the academic council and students said the VC departed abruptly, the VC alleged he was manhandled.
Kumar allegedly said at the meeting that “a group of teachers and their student supporters” were pressing their demand to “discuss an issue that was not part of the agenda”. A statement released by the university says, “The behaviour of these teachers was unruly… there was no alternative left for the Vice-Chancellor but to adjourn the meeting.”
The JNU Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar, however, said, according to an Indian Express report, “… The VC has been videographed being escorted by a dozen security guards, while students peacefully sang songs and raised slogans.”
Following the VC's departure, 52 JNU teachers, who are members of the Academic Council, tabled a resolution that read as follows:
The overwhelming sense expressed in the academic council meeting held on May 10th, 2016 is that the whole range of punishments meted out to students is excessive and that the harsher punishments such as rustication, suspension, banishment from campus and exorbitant fines should be immediately revoked.
We are distressed by the fact that no deference was shown by the Chair to the opinion of the AC members, and that the Chair adjourned the meeting abruptly and unreasonably.
We, the members of the Academic Council, resolve that all unreasonable punishments for the February 9th incident are revoked.
We resolve that the VC immediately implement this resolution.
At the meeting, the students' union general secretary Rama Naga presented the VC with a bouquet of roses and a fruit basket.
Before going in for the meeting the students gave speeches and shouted slogans about keeping their fight alive.
The Delhi High Court also sought a response from the University on the rustication of Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya. A PTI report quoted Justice Manmohan's statement, "Have to see the records to ascertain whether fair procedure was followed. You are pleading ignorance of all facts, so I have to see the record." He reportedly also directed the varsity to bring all the relevant records on the next date.