JNU students stand firm, boycott exams over fee hike

Talks between student representatives and administration remain inconclusive

Published - December 13, 2019 01:56 am IST - NEW DELHI

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students from various departments, including the School of Social Sciences, School of International Studies and others, boycotted examinations on Thursday over the hostel fee hike issue.

The JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) said that by boycotting examinations, students of the university had shown “exemplary unity in the face of intimidation, violence and a barrage of threats in the form of circulars” issued by the administration.

However, the School of Sanskrit and Indic Studies (SSIS) saw students appearing for their papers.

In a bid to end the deadlock, the JNU administration also held several meetings with student representatives throughout the day and said that the meetings were a “significant step towards normalising the situation.”

V-C appeals to end strike

“The JNU administration reiterated that students and their representatives are always welcome to have a dialogue and discussion. The V-C ended the meeting with an appeal to call off the strike in the interest of thousands of students,” the administration said, after a meeting with presidential candidates who had contested in the JNUSU elections this year.

Earlier in the day, Vice-Chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar also met 18 hostel presidents to discuss the matter and “explained about the revised hostel manual,” according to the university administration.

While the administration maintained that it was a step towards “normalising” the situation, students’ representatives said that “nothing conclusive” came out of the meeting.

“First they tried to convince us how the service and utility charges are justified. Then the hostel presidents demanded a rollback of the new hostel manual and a fresh IHA meeting to be held in a democratic manner. We said that the students will not pay a single paisa. The V-C did not reply to our demands,” the hostel presidents said in a statement.

Yamuna hostel model

The student representatives also said that the V-C “wanted the Yamuna hostel (fully privatised) model to be applied to all the hostels.

“We rejected such proposals. They even justified the 10% annual hike. Nothing conclusive came out from the administration side. When the hostel presidents started to ask the V-C tough questions, he concluded the meeting and ran away,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, the Human Resource Development Ministry has called for a “foolproof” system to prevent recurrence of similar instances like the ongoing stand-off between the administration and students, according to officials. The Ministry has also asked the university to consider and give a relaxation of two weeks to make up for the lost academic period, said officials.

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