JNU students, teachers allegedly ‘heckled’ at academic council meeting

New Delhi: A section of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) teachers and students alleged that they were “manhandled” and “heckled” by some professors at the academic council meeting on Friday.

“When students and teachers questioned the way all the agendas were being passed without discussion and debate, some stooges of the administration started chasing and heckling the student representatives,” JNU Students Union (JNUSU) president Mohit Kumar Pandey alleged.

There was no space for deliberation and reasoned debates at the meeting. Vice-chancellor Jagadesh Kumar cleared one agenda item after another without even registering dissent, he said.

The JNUSU also released a set of video clips claiming to be that of the proceedings of the meeting, in which some professors were seen fiercely arguing with each other.

“Professors Atul Kumar Johri and Ashwani Kumar Mohapatra physically heckled JNUSU joint secretary Tabrez Hassan and held him by his collar. Similarly, other student representatives were shouted down and threatened,” the JNUSU alleged in a release.

The JNUSU claimed that Johri was not a member of the academic council, but he attended the meeting. Mohapatra, however, rejected the allegations as “baseless”.

“It is unethical and illegal to video-record the AC meeting. The allegations of students are baseless. I tried to stop them from taking my pictures as they were taking it every time when I stood up to speak. The students were trying to obstruct the meeting. So we demanded the VC take disciplinary action against the students, or I will stay away from attending the meetings,” he said.

The 143rd academic council meeting was convened today, after it was adjourned on May 9, amid opposition from wide circles for holding the meeting during summer vacations.

It is learnt that the VC concluded the 143rd AC meeting after declaring all the agendas as passed. JNU Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) president Ayesha Kidwai termed the meeting as “farce”.

“Apparently, we cannot discuss items because they are sub-judice, but, how can they can be announced as passed by the VC?” Kidwai asked, in a post on Facebook. The JNUSU said it would fight against all “anti-student” policies.

Meanwhile, a large section of students protested outside the venue of the meeting, reiterating their demand for amendments in minutes of the 142nd meeting which was allegedly forced to bring in seat-cuts for M.Phil and PhD courses.

The JNU VC could not be reached for comments.