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JNU Administration’s Conduct Partisan, say Students After Officials Skip Meet

Ravi Kaushal |
Office-bearers of JNUSU said they tried but could not meet the Vice Chancellor at her office on Tuesday. They are demanding independent probe into Sunday’s violence.
JNU Administration’s Conduct Partisan, say Students After Officials Skip Meet

New Delhi: Coming down heavily on the JNU administration, student representatives at the premier university said on Tuesday that university officials “were not keen on booking the culprits” of violence over food choices in a hostel mess that left several students injured on Sunday night.

The office-bearers of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) reportedly could not meet the Vice Chancellor at her office on Tuesday. The students said they had gathered to demand the formation of an independent judicial committee to investigate the violence, rescinding the press statement of JNU that allegedly promoted a biased narrative and ending the continuous political violence by the RSS-backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarathi Parishad (ABVP) in the campus.

Student representatives maintained that “actions of the JNU Administration have either fallen short of the expectations of the student community or been partisan in nature.”

Aishe Ghosh, president, JNUSU, said the violence at Kaveri Hostel had its beginnings in the arbitrary demand of prohibition of non-vegetarian meals at the hostel mess by a group of students. She said: “It has been corroborated by the relevant hostel committee and the mess committee members. However, the same students who raised this demand and violently disrupted the functioning of the mess, who are also associated with the ABVP, have resorted to spreading a narrative of disruption of havan in the hostel premises, a claim that is neither supported by the hostel or mess committee.”

Ghosh said ABVP in its press statement and interviews to media has also said that the puja started at 5 p.m and simultaneously Iftar was happening at the same time. This is factually incorrect as the Iftar was held at 6.45 p.m and not 5 p.m. At the same time, other ABVP cadres have accepted in interviews to the media that the argument was on the preparation of non-vegetarian meals in the mess and not the puja, as both the puja and havan took place without disturbance. “Thus the many lies of ABVP stand exposed,” she added.

The JNUSU president added that communications of the committee with the Hostel Warden prove that the violence was caused by ABVP. “In these circumstances, it is extremely shameful that in the press statement released by the JNU Administration on 11/04 endorses the version by ABVP without the conduct of any official enquiry. Such partisan support of a single narrative is unbecoming of a university administration and therefore we demand that the press statement be rescinded forthwith.”

The university in its release had maintained that the violence had its roots in disruption of a ritual at the Kaveri hostel. However, this version was vehemently refuted by the injured students.

Demanding an independent enquiry, Adarsh Kumar, convenor, School of Languages, Literature and Culture Studies, said the students have apprehensions about the office of Chief Proctor in conducting an impartial enquiry and bringing culprits to justice.

“We demand that the JNU Administration either pursue the conduct of a judicial inquiry in the matter or constitute a committee with a serving or retired judge of the High Court as the chair to investigate in the matter. The committee should give a call to collect all testimonies and evidence, meet with the aggrieved parties, and release the report and recommendations to the public in a time bound manner,” he said.

Kumar, who appeared visibly distressed over non-action in the matter, said: “It has been increasingly observed that the prevalence of politically motivated violence in the campus is becoming a norm rather than the exception. It has been further observed that a few students, all being office bearers and members of ABVP, have played the role of instigators and participants in the violence, with the present matter being no exception.”

He said while this was highlighted by the JNUSU to the previous Vice-Chancellor numerous times, no action has been taken in the regard. “We believe that for the campus to maintain its peace, the JNU Administration must be prepared to take action according to the rules and ordinances of the university and the recommendations of the committee mentioned previously. Further the JNU Administration must hold dialogue with all stakeholders, including the elected representatives of the student and teacher community, to resolve the issue.”

Meat was sold in retail

The staff at the meat supplier’s outlet told NewsClick that they had no option but to sell the chicken in retail after it was sent back from Kaveri hostel. The outlet supplies about 260 kilograms of chicken to different hostels in the university. A staff member, who requested anonymity, said: ”We have been supplying chicken to the institution since the last 25 years when my uncle ran the outlet.” When asked if he was worried over future supplies, he said: “We have been running our livelihood on the sale of chicken. The sales will definitely get affected if more hostels follow suit.”

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