Today's Paper

Students lift blockade of admin block, but no trace of missing JNU student

Siege over:JNU Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar and other senior officials being escorted out by security personnel after the students lifted the blockade of the administration block on Thursday.Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma  

Twenty-four hours after the Jawaharlal Nehru University Vice-Chancellor was “illegally confined” to the administration block by students, the students' union called off the blockade on Thursday afternoon, allowing the V-C to be escorted out of the building, even as the missing student, Najeeb Ahmed, remained untraced.

Following the intervention of the Union Home Ministry, the Delhi Police have set up a Special Investigation Team to conduct searches at various locations. The police said an eyewitness had seen Najeeb leaving the campus in an auto-rickshaw on October 15.

Agitated students had surrounded the administration block on Wednesday afternoon as they felt that the university authorities were not being proactive in their efforts to trace Najeeb. They also wanted the violence at the Mahi-Mandavi hostel on the intervening night of October 14-15, in which Najeeb got into an altercation with students belonging to the ABVP, to be investigated in a time-bound manner.

The intensity of the blockade had gathered steam after Najeeb’s sister had made an emotional appeal to the student to put pressure on the administration to get Najeeb back. She had appealed to them not to do anything against the law or take any action that may jeopardise their careers.

Around 2-30 p.m. on Thursday, the V-C and other top brass of the administration were escorted out by university security and whisked away in a car amid chaos and sloganeering.

Earlier in the day, the V-C had warned the students that if they did not let him leave the building at 2.30 p.m. to attend an Academic Council meeting, he would use the university security for effective functioning of the administration and the law would then take its own course.

Speaking to the media, the V-C said they tried to leave the building at night but the students lay down on the floor. “How can we walk over them to exit the building. We finally slept on the floor in our office.”

With regards to the demands made by the students, the V-C said they have been in constant touch with the police with regards to the search for Najeeb and the proctorial investigation into the violence had already started. “How can we take action against any student before the investigation is over. We have to hear all versions and come to a fair decision.”

The decision by the JNUSU to let the V-C out was severely criticised by the students who had spent the night blocking all exits of the administration block. Students felt that the decision had been taken by the union without consulting them and slogans of “get lost JNUSU” were chanted by angry students.

Defending their stance, the union leaders said they had not ended their protest but only changed the method of protest and that they would take their protest to the Union Home Ministry on Friday.

The JNU Teachers' Association, while supporting the cause of the protest, said the mode of protest to “confine someone” however peacefully was not a democratic form of protest and they had urged the students to call off the blockade.

Students belonging to various student organisations, apart from AISA, SFI and JNUSU, have decided to take the protest forwards without the help of the students’ union and are drawing up plans to mobilise students.