In a historic turn of events, Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) has called for boycotting the second convocation in the history of the university. The convocation, scheduled to take place on Wednesday, will be organised after a gap of 46 years. Citing the persistent attacks on the democratic nature of the prestigious institution, the union has asked the students to join an alternate convocation, which will be addressed by eminent professors Harbans Mukhia, Anand Kumar and former student leaders.
Talking to Newsclick, JNUSU President Geeta Kumari said the vice chancellor Jagdesh Kumar has left no stone unturned in destroying the university and with this record, he does not deserve to hand over degrees to students. She said, "Ranging from cuts in M. Phil. and Ph.D. seats to elimination of deprivation points, the V-C is trying to destroy the university. Why should he gain legitimacy for the work for which students and their supervisors worked tirelessly?"
Terming the organisation of the convocation problematic, Kumari said that the students have been asked to attend the one-day rehearsal. Apart from a fee of Rs 600, they have been asked to buy white kurtas and white saris if they wish to receive the degrees from the VC. She alleged that the students will be able to get their degrees only after the convocation. The students could not apply for courses at other universities in the absence of their degrees.
Kumari said that the decisions taken by the VC brought catastrophe to the lives of the students. She said, "The JNU administration took Rs 26,000 as fee from B.Tech. students in the first year. He is well aware of the fact that the university has huge crunch of hostels. Now, the students are being compelled to live in inhabitable dormitories. Similarly, he did not suspend Atul Johri even after the girl students alleged sexual harassment and mental torture by him. On the contrary, the Internal Complaints Committee threatened the victims after they came out in protest of the sexual harassment in public in other matter."
Sumanta Roy, an M.Phil. student at School of Social Sciences, explains how this crisis has hit the students at the university. Hailing from the backward North 24 Pargana district in West Bengal, Roy said he was under severe depression after he could not gain admission after seat cuts. "I belong to a Dalit family, and the access to higher education is already difficult for me. In this condition, when you are denied admission, the challenge of keeping yourself in the city is the biggest challenge. I know a few batchmates who returned to their homes, and their academic careers came to an abrupt end just because of the seat cuts."
He added that the demographic composition of the students at the campus is also changing. He said," I do not find students from backward regions of Bengal or any other state."