14 Feb 2017| 3:30 PM: Around 1500 students and teachers of JNU collectively marched to Parliament to protest against the UGC gazette of May 2016. 8 buses left from Ganga Dhaba around 3 PM with students shouting slogans and carrying posters. A police van headed the buses and employed a circuitous route to Mandi house from where the march commenced. The JNUTU led the march succeeded by the students which included most of the parties on campus, carrying their respective banners. Several policemen and policewomen walked in front, and on either side.
Speaking to The Informer, Mohit, President of JNUSU said “TheVC should give a clear message against UGC gazette notification… the student pool is rejecting his views”.
“The 54% OBC reservation needs to be observed. Viva marks should be reduced. We will continue to block the Admin building till our demands are met” said Sashi, counsellor SIS.
Some of the slogans seen in the march were “samaan shiksha hai sabka adhikar, bandh kare is ka vyapaar!” and “no more pellets, bullets, curfews, rapes, encounters, jails, widows, orphans!”
The march ended at the police station on Parliament Street at 4:40 pm where security personnel had put up barricades. Shortly after, the speeches were under way. The first to take the mike was Professor Ayesha Kidwai. To quote her “ The JNU Act was to ensure that there will be entrance exams in the University, enough seats, and deprivation points…. 50 years later it is still an act of Parliament…the Academic council is the body that is responsible for everything academic in the University…to decide on admission policy, who can sit on selection committee. What we saw, particularly on the 26th of January is that the Academic Council has been completely bypassed. These regulations have changed the entrance pattern of the university…the cap on the number of students have been imposed upon us….this cannot apply to us because we are an integrated M.Phil- PHD program…the UGC regulation that will ensure a reduction of seats in every university in India must be struck down.”
Other speakers included D. Raja of CPI, Shri Digvijay Singh of Congress and Anwar Alam who were introduced by JNUTA Sec Prof. Pradip Shinde. The Parliamentarians assured the crowd that they will take up the issue in the Parliament when it reconvenes on 9 March 2017, if the situation does not improve by then. Shouts of “save JNU” continued into the evening even as the protestors started dispersing.
Noyonika Bose (MA, CESP) and Rahul (MA, CP) work for The Informer. Pictures are by Divisha Srivastava (MA, CIR).