According to a statement published in the Hindustan Times, Sajjan Singh, JNU’s assistant registrar of evaluation, has said that the administration will be sending out letters of warning to the parents of nearly 7,000 students, who have failed to meet the required 75 per cent attendance criteria.
“University is trying to undermine the student authority and their decision-making power. The student union criticises the move,” said Simone Zoya Khan, the JNU Students’ Union vice president while speaking to Newsclick.
The JNU administration had been attempting, in various ways, to quell the protests by teachers and students against the minimum attendance policy. The move, according to many, has been “arbitrarily imposed” by the university. To display their dissent, teachers have started conducting classes outside classrooms – on the lawns, and attendance is not being recorded.
Parents of about 86 per cent of the total student strength will receive letters about their children failing to meet the university’s mandatory attendance rule. This number poses several questions to a statement made by JNU vice-chancellor Professor M Jagadesh Kumar. He had claimed that majority of students are focusing on their academics, while only a couple hundred of students who are “tacitly” supported by handful of teachers, are “instigating” all others against the rule of compulsory attendance.
Earlier also, attempts were made by the JNU administration to spread misinformation. A statement was released by the administration claiming that its attendance move has received support from several distinguished scientists and well-known academicians from across the board.
However, according to a report in The Telegraph, three scientists, a technocrat and an academic denied that they had endorsed a statement the JNU administration released.
According to the same news report, former ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair, who has endorsed the statement, said the document was issued at the instance of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's science front, Vijnana Bharati, of which he is a patron.
The recent development reveals the administration’s intentions to curb the students’ right to protest.
The M Phil and Ph D students need to engage with different groups, attend conferences discussions, classes and seminars to produce research. JNU administration, on the other hand, is trying to cultivate a culture of fear, surveillance and bureaucratic control, which intends to school the research scholars. Most of these scholars are above the age of 25 years, and understand the essence of freedom with responsibilities.