NEW DELHI: Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has been at the centre of various conflicts for the past few years. Tension has been rising inside the university, as time and again the JNU students’ Union (JNUSU) and JNU Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) have been forced to protest against the state of affairs in JNU under the leadership of the current Vice Chancellor, M.Jagadesh Kumar.
On Friday, January 4, five Rajya Sabha Members of Parliament (MPs) came together to highlight the “irregularities and misgovernance” by the JNU administration, and voiced their concerns against the “attack on intellect”.
Demanding an inquiry against the JNU Vice-Chancellor, Rashtriya Janata Dal MP Manoj Jha said they had demanded an immediate inquiry, pending which the VC should be removed. He said that the MPs would be writing to the Human Resource Development Minister as well. “This is an act of solidarity to JNU and through JNU to higher education,” said Jha.
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On January 7, 49 MPs from both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha wrote a letter to Prakash Javadekar, the Minister for Human Resource Development. In the letter, they pointed out several issues regarding the governance of JNU, and seeked urgent intervention from the Minister to save the university from “being destroyed by its current Vice Chancellor”.
The issues that have been pointed out in the letter include violation of the constitutionally mandated reservation system and the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admissions) Act 2006, destruction of teaching and research in JNU, and harassment of teachers and denial of their legitimate dues.
The letter also mentions how student safety and welfare, as well as the integrity of the faculty selection process were being undermined in the university. It also accused the Vice Chancellor of disrespecting the Parliament.
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Talking about the attack on teaching and research in JNU, the letter points out how the ‘skewed priorities of the administration’ and repeated violation of the JNU Act, statutes, and ordinances have put at stake not only the university’s teaching-learning process, but also the future of thousands of young students seeking a solid education in good publicly funded universities.
The letter reads, “Ever since Prof. M Jagadesh Kumar has taken over as the Vice Chancellor of JNU in January 2016, he has been violating various constitutional provisions, destroying the institutional rules and norms, and vitiating the essential foundations that have nurtured JNU as one of the country’s premier universities in the last five decades. The Vice Chancellor has been constantly misusing the power of authority by intimidating and penalising members of the faculty, students and staff through whatever means he can muster.”
The letter also accuses the Vice Chancellor of destroying the university’s admission policy. It reads, “The time-tested admission policy of JNU which has been socially inclusive and unique in nature has been totally destroyed. The JNU Vice Chancellor is liable for violating the instructions of the Hugh Court by not taking any specific initiative to fill the seats or even acknowledge that the admission policy and process has to be rectified to fulfill the Court’s directions.”
“We demand that an inquiry be instituted against the JNU Vice Chancellor’s misgovernance, and pending the inquiry, Prof. Jagadesh Kumar be removed from the post of Vice Chancellor of the Jawaharlal Nehru University,” reads the letter.
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