JNU VC urges end to ”unlawful” siege

New Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar on Tuesday urged the “university community” to stop the agitating students who have the administrative block under siege since February 9.

The VC also warned the “unruly” students of the criminal nature of their undertaking and proclaimed them as “adamant and refusing to cooperate”.

“It is time for the university community to come forward and save the institution from detractors and agitators who appear hell-bent upon making JNU dysfunctional,” Kumar said in a statement.

He said hundreds of staff members and officers are being kept away from their jobs through the blockade, which is resulting in a huge backlog of pending work.

Kumar said despite several attempts at reaching out to the agitating students, the administration has met with no success in persuading them to end the siege of the administrative block which houses all important offices.

“The administration has made repeated efforts to convince these students that they must end this siege of administrative building and refrain from undemocratic and unlawful means of protest… the demand to talk to the VC in a public place in the presence of all agitating students is not only unfair but also unproductive,” Kumar said.

A massive crowd of students has the block under siege since February 9 in protest against the May 5, 2016 UGC notification.

The notification, among other things, recommends an upper cap on the number of M.Phil and Ph.D students a faculty member can have under him or her for guidance, which has become a bone of contention between the students community and administration.

The notification was adopted by the university during its 142nd Academic Council (AC) meet on December 26 last year amid protests from several of the council members.

The students also accused the administration of attempting to reduce the intake of the students in the said courses by imposing the cap, and rubbished the VC`s explanation for bringing it, when he said that the cap would only lead to mere balancing of students among the faculty members, some of whom seem to have too many of them, whil others have too few.

“Research is not done in this manner. The students are a crucial stakeholders in the choice of their mentors,” Satarupa Chakraborty, General Secretary, JNU Students Union, told IANS.

However, the VC in his Tuesday communique reiterated his original stance and said “the number of vacancies (read admissions) will be calculated based on the upper caps given in 2016 UGC gazette”.