JNU violence: Teachers boycott classes, claim ‘climate of fear’ on campus

Students and teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) boycotted classes on Monday, the first day of the new session, demanding resignation of vice chancellor (VC) Jagadesh Kumar.

The JNU Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) said they would not cooperate with the V-C’s appeal to bring “normalcy” in the campus after the January 5 violence as long as there was a “climate of fear” on the campus.

“We will not become a party to his attempts to create a fiction of ‘normalcy’ in the University that wishes away the real climate of fear and terror he has created,” the teachers’ body said.

The JNUTA held a protest outside their schools on Monday morning and requested all faculty members to join.

The JNU administration issued advisory warning teachers against the boycott.

In it, JNU Registrar Pramod Kumar said, “The call for ‘non-cooperation’ not only goes against the efforts of the administration for restoration of normalcy in the campus and resumption of academic activities but also reflects the intention of JNUTA to disrupt normal functioning of the university. It also violates the service contacts of the teachers.”

Reacting to this, JNUTA said, “We reject totally the ‘advisory’ issued by the administration today and the warnings issued to the JNUTA about organising assemblies around the academic complex. Teachers need no lesson on their duties or their norms of conduct from those who are guilty of using thugs to terrorise the University community and yet pretend they are ‘governing’ an institution of higher learning.”

JNUTA members also met the officials at the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry on Friday afternoon. “We placed our perspective on why the removal of the VC is imperative. The JNUTA presented a dossier on the misgovernance under Professor M Jagadesh Kumar’s Vice-Chancellorship and explained how the incidents of January 5, 2019 are the culmination of the long history of such misgovernance,” said JNUTA president DK Lobiyal.

Lobiyal said that the JNUTA conveyed the HRD ministry that they are not feeling safe at the campus after a masked mob entered the campus and attacked teachers and students. “Students who left campus after violence scared to return, how we can resume teaching?” he said.

The JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) also reiterated that it will not call off the registration boycott without a rollback of the hiked hostel fee. “We had taken a step forward on Saturday and asked the administration to allow us to register without paying the hostel fee and resume classes. But they blocked the registration portal and made a provision that we cannot even submit our tuition fee without submitting the hostel fee,” said JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh.

Later in the evening, the administration issued another statement on behalf of the deans and the chairpersons, stating, “The new semester has already begun with registration of more than 5,000 students. It is evident that students are to participate in their academic pursuits without further disruptions in the normal functioning of the university. We, the Deans of all the Schools and Chairpersons of the Special Centres, appeal to all the students and teachers to refrain from any activity that would hinder the conductive atmosphere in the functioning of the university.”

Former Kerala chief minister and Congress leader Oommen Chandy visited the campus on Monday to extend solidarity to those injured in the violence.

ABVP accuses Left parties, NSUI

The RSS-affiliated ABVP on Monday said that it has submitted evidence against the Left-organisations active at the JNU campus in connection with the January 5th incident.

Calling for an inquiry into all developments of the fee hike protest, Sidharth Yadav, ABVP Delhi state secretary, said, “Teachers and wardens were locked during the protest which has been going on for two months. Police should look at this along with accessing chats of the WhatsApp group whose pictures were shared on social media.”

Nidhi Tripathi, ABVP national general secretary said, “The Left outfits are issuing boycott calls of faculty and students opposed to their views. They are running a kangaroo court.”

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