As the hunger strike by Jawaharlal Nehru University students enters Day Six on Tuesday, teachers will join in for a day to protest against the varsity administration.
The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) will observe a hunger strike on Tuesday against the administration on various issues, including punishment meted out to students and the harassment of hostel warden Burton Cleetus.
As reported by The Hindu earlier, Burton Cleetus was given anticipatory bail by a court in connection with a case of caste-based discrimination filed by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) members.
The court had observed that no case under the SC/ST act was made out in the matter. Dr. Cleetus was accused of caste-based discrimination when he tried to stop a havan in a hostel in November.
After the bail, JNUTA had urged the administration to fix responsibility with respect to those who tried to implicate the warden.
The JNUTA had called a general body meeting on April 28 and decided to hold a one-day hunger strike to protest against the “non-responsive attitude of the administration” on the current situation on campus, the association announced in a statement.
“We are forced to take this step without a response on major issues, including on continuation of seniority-based rotation system in appointment of Deans and Chairpersons, on intimidation of colleagues, victimisation of elected representatives, unsupportive attitude towards wardens and Inter-Hall Administration officials when attacked by motivated elements, non-implementation of high-level enquiry committee (HLEC) report on harassment of Dr. Cleetus,” the JNUTA said.
The association also slammed the administration and the HLEC for penalties handed down to the students accused of involvement in the February 9 incident, saying the punishment was awarded without credible inquiry.
The committee, constituted on February 11, fined JNU Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar Rs.10,000 and rusticated students Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya and Mujeeb Gatto for their alleged involvement in the event.
Anti-national slogans were reportedly raised during an event held on JNU campus to commemorate Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru’s death anniversary.
“Our students are on indefinite hunger strike against arbitrary penalties imposed without credible inquiry. Instead of bringing back normalcy, the administration is busy provoking the students by digging up old complaints, sending Proctorial Punishment declaration to special cell of Delhi Police, denying striking students access to bathroom and toilet facilities, etc.,” the JNUTA said.
Mr. Kumar, Mr. Khalid and 18 others began their indefinite hunger strike on April 27, rejecting the findings and recommendations of the HLEC, which probed the February 9 event.
Meanwhile, an altercation took place between the ABVP and Left-affiliated groups on campus on Monday.
ABVP member and Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) president Satender Awana visited the campus on Monday when a heated argument broke out between him and protesting members from the other group.
While the Left groups alleged that Mr. Awana abused and passed indecent remarks, he claimed he had gone to express solidarity with the protesting ABVP group and was abused by the Left groups.