The day-long protest by Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students on Monday was an extension of an ongoing tussle between them and the varsity administration over different issues.
The JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) has been at loggerhead with the administration ever since their election in September this year. Issues like pending recognition of the union, new hostel draft manual, curbs on access to some areas of the campus during night hours and administration’s order to vacate the JNUSU office have often pitted the students against the varsity management.
“The administration is not inviting the students’ union member for any important meeting citing the fact that the union is not notified. This may be a long term plan of the administration to keep the students’ representative away from all decision makings. However, as per the Lyngdoh committee recommendations, we are an elected students’ union,” said JNUSU general secretary Satish Yadav.
JNU Dean of Students’ Welfare Umesh Kadam last month issued a notice asking the union to vacate their office. Explaining the reason behind the move, a senior university official had then said, “The students’ union results were announced arbitrarily by the election committee this year. The election committee had submitted the results with dean of students’ welfare office in a sealed envelope following a stay from the high court on disclosing the results. However, when the court lifted the stay, the election committee did take the submitted result back from the authority and announced it. “
However, the students protested the move and did not allow the administration to lock the office.
The university witnessed another round of protest by students on October 20 over the administration’s decision of making Parthasarathy Rocks or PSR— a popular hangout spot on campus — out of bounds. The administration issued a notice saying that the area will remain closed to avoid any “untoward action”. The administration had also accused students of breaking the gate of PSR complex.
The JNUSU had organised a night-vigil to protest the move and unlocked the area on October 19. Following this, the administration issued notices to current and former presidents of the JNUSU.
The tussle between the students and the administration intensified, when the varsity’s hostel committee passed the new hostel manual during a meeting on October 28, without inviting JNUSU members. The students’ union had immediately called for a university strike and has been demanding a rollback of the manual since.
The administration issued multiple notices requesting the students’ to call off the strike. The dean of all the schools in JNU also issued a statement on Friday requesting students to resume academic activities at the campus.