JNU students beaten up during march

Defiant stand: Students marching to the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday.

Defiant stand: Students marching to the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma


HRD Ministry rules out V-C’s removal after talks with delegation of students, faculty

Several students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Thursday were beaten up by Delhi Police personnel as they tried to march towards Rashtrapati Bhavan after “unsatisfactory” talks with officials of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MoHRD). At least four students received injuries when police used “mild force” to disperse the march. Around 11 students were also detained but later released.

Scores of people had assembled since late afternoon outside the HRD Ministry as a protest march starting from Mandi House culminated there. HRD Secretary Amit Khare met a delegation of nine representatives from JNU Students’ Union and JNU Teachers Association demanding the removal of Vice-Chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar.

‘Resolving issues’

The Ministry ruled out Mr. Kumar’s removal. “Removing the V-C is not the solution. The basic issue on which the whole problem has arisen needs to be addressed first. Changing X, Y or Z is not as important as resolving the issues that have come up,” said Mr. Khare.

 Around 100 students have been detained by Delhi Police as they tried to march towards Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on January 9, 2020.

 Around 100 students have been detained by Delhi Police as they tried to march towards Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on January 9, 2020.  


Ministry officials, however, asserted that the “formula” decided during consultations with students and administration needs to be implemented. University officials, including the Vice- Chancellor, have been called at the Ministry on Friday over students’ claims that the revised fees, as decided during the MoHRD’s intervention, are not being implemented.

Towards evening, JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) president Aishe Ghosh addressed those gathered outside Shastri Bhawan and termed the MoHRD meeting “unsatisfactory” and called for a march to Rashtrapati Bhavan. Students and protesters started moving but were stopped by the police. In the melee, several protesters were beaten up by the police and taken away in police vehicles. A male student suffered head injuries during a baton charge.

Also read | The mask of anarchy: On JNU violence

Thousands gather

Earlier, several political leaders and activists addressed a crowd of thousands of people, including ordinary citizens, students and professors from various universities outside Shastri Bhawan, while talks were going on inside.

“No resignation, he [the V-C] has to be removed. For three hours, he allowed a rampage on campus despite the police being present outside. They were only called in when it was over. This can only mean that the V-C is also complicit in the incident,” said Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Sitaram Yechury, referring to the January 5 violence on the campus.

Former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar said, “The Home Minister keeps referring to the ‘tukde tukde (divisive) gang’. I want to tell him that I own the term proudly. We will shatter into pieces their dream of dividing the country.”

Alsor read | Murli Manohar Joshi seeks Vice-Chancellor Jagadesh Kumar’s ouster

‘Restrictions imposed’

Sana Khan, a PhD scholar who was among the protesters, said the character of JNU had changed since Mr. Kumar had taken charge. “When I joined ten years back for my MA course, JNU was a space where one could have debates and students from various classes mingled. It was a place which helped us break stereotypes. Suddenly, the entire character of the university has changed with the V-C bringing in all kinds of restrictions,” she said.

Sohini Dasgupta, another JNU student, was seen carrying a blank poster. “We have so much to say that it cannot fit in one poster. While the fee hike should be revoked completely, the V-C should immediately step down. This is an issue affecting thousands of students. If we students don’t speak up now, who will?” she said.

[with inputs from Saurav Trivedi and Agencies]

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 4:03:11 AM |

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