10 February 2017| 5:30 PM: While it remained a quite uneventful day at the blockade at the Admin Block, JNU came out in large numbers in the evening for the protest march called by JNUTA and JNU Karmachari Union, from Ganga Dhaba to Admin Block. The crowd had grown to more than thousand students marching along with teachers and members of the workers union, as the contingent made their way through the hostels to Chandrabhaga and back, ending the march at the steps of the Ad block. Later, as the gathering settled down, those present were addressed by JNUTA’s newly elected President Prof. Ayesha Kidwai and the Secretary, Prof Pradeep K. Shinde. Some important announcements were made by Prof. Kidwai regarding the future course of action, while she reaffirmed the TA’s stand with the students of the university.
Prof Kidwai also briefed the gathering regarding the teachers meeting with the vistor of the university, the President of the country, Dr Pranab Mukherjee. The latter had given a patient hearing to the demands laid out by the teachers: annul the decisions of the 266th and 267th EC meeting, reject changes in admission policy and research seats by upholding the JNU Act 0f 1966, ‘fair, transparent and accountable’ working of the Selection Committee, ensure that the freedom to critique, dissent and express opinions without fear or repression and safeguard the institutional autonomy.
Referring to the GBM held on 8 February 2016, she announced, ‘JNUTA in one voice has rejected the business of vacancy.’ Reiterating JNUTA’s stand on the intake capacity as issued on the press release on the same day, she said ‘…the policy of social justice, regional deprivation to address inequalities, the low fees in JNU… we will not accept any alteration.’
The press release had declared that the power to make changes regarding admission is invested in the Academic Council. Citing the Central University Act of 1966, she said that ‘no decisions can be made without going to the AC.’ In the press release JNUTA had further demanded that the 142nd AC meeting be reconvened immediately and no later than 16 February, 2016. It had also raised strong objections on the powers assumed by the VC based on ‘falsified and fabricated claims’ to make changes in the panel of experts for Selection Committees for appointments and promotion of faculties.
It is not only the aforementioned law, but also the Central Educational Institution Reservation Act 2006 too is being violated with impunity. ‘After 2006, the intake capacity of the university [was] to be frozen at that level, that was to take care of the fact that 54%extra students had to come in by that Act into our university, that condition of 54% increase is frozen – we are going to be in violation of that Act, in violation of the SC judgement on relaxation of norms’, further adding ‘we have been charged of no loving our nation, and we have responded by saying we love our Constitution…there is a murder of the Constitution and its provisions happening in JNU.’
The decisions of the EC meetings if imposed ‘will have a terrible cascading effect’. ‘For six years we will not be able to take any new students. But there will also be another effect…there are people who were admitted in JNU in 2014, they had supervisors, they wrote their MPhil dissertations, they are waiting for their viva, then they can pass their semesters…if all these alleged vacancies are to be filled now, then they cannot get PhD supervisors. Who all came to JNU in 2015, they are writing their dissertations where will they get their supervisors from? 2016 batch has been written out of existence. So it is not only the incoming students who are going to have to face problems, the problem is here and now’, she said.
‘Since the Constitution is being murdered in JNU, we are going to the people who are responsible for upholding the Constitution of India, the acts of Parliament…on Tuesday, on the 14th of February we the teachers of JNU will march to Parliament’, she announced. She urged the entire JNU community to join the march and ‘gather all the forces that JNU stands for.’:
A signature campaign will also be undertaken: ‘These signatures will be presented to Parliamentarians in a “Save the JNU ACT” March to Parliament on 14 February 2017, where we shall request the Parliament to stand up in defence of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Act of 1966, from which JNU’s autonomy, socially just admission policy, and norms of consultative and democratic administration flow.’
Lastly, she asked students especially the ones from 2014 batch and onwards to request the Visitor to intervene: ‘Honorable President of India is the Visitor of this university, it is not only the teachers that can speak to him, students of this university, particularly the batches from 2014 onwards I urge you to seek an appointment, explain to him the crisis that your university has landed you in that you will not get your degrees from the university…we may give you work and get your PhDs done but they will not give you your degrees…’.
Meanwhile, the Student’s Union was notified on 11 February 2017, Saturday that the VC will meet representatives in the morning on Monday, 13 February 2017.
The Informer correspondent.