Ground Report, New Delhi
Amid two month long full university lockdown by the students, the Jawaharlal Nehru University implemented new hostel rules with hiked fee from January 1st. The varsity opened the registration process for the next semester, but the JNU Student Union has called for a boycott of the semester registration process. JNUSU also asked the vice-chancellor “to have a proper deliberation and work in the spirit of resolution” of issues.
The university is in a deadlock like situation as there is a total lockdown of all the school buildings. No class took place after the JNUSU’s call for the protest against the massive fee hike. The union said that the Delhi High Court had observed in its order on 23 December that the solution to the current crisis must be found by the VC only through dialogue with stakeholders – the university students. The administration held two meetings with the JNUSU on 26 and 30 December.
“While having communicated through informal channels that it would initiate dialogue with the JNUSU, in a shocking display of their insidious intentions, the administration brought out a notice that was in complete violation of a conducive environment where negotiations can further proceed,” the JNUSU said.
It said that despite concerted efforts by the administration to penalise the agitating students, the JNUSU participated in the talks with the sincere intent to resolve the “crisis that the hostel manual has imposed on the students”. “Even as the talks were going on, circulars were released by the administration which clearly shows that the administration still believes in the modus operandi of pretending to hold dialogue rather than actually holding one,” the JNUSU said.
The semester registration process will begin from 1 January and will go on till 5 January. The students, who did not take exams, can provisionally register for the next semester and have to complete academic requirements by 20 January. “We note that the administration which was threatening to fail students and not let them register has now had to come down to the so called ‘provisional registration’ model. But that is a sham tactic. Proper exams with buffer period must be held for all students,” the JNUSU said.
However, a JNU official said the service and utility charges will be taken care of by the University Grants Commission and will not be levied on the students. The varsity’s vice-chancellor, Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar, wished the students well for the New Year and cited the varsity’s achievements. He also expressed concerns saying, “certain recent incidents have deeply impeded the forward march of our university”.
“It is difficult to fathom what prompted our students to take the path of confrontation and disruption affecting the teaching and research work towards the end of the Monsoon Semester 2019,” he said. Although the university administration and the relevant bodies followed the statutory process for revising the room rent and hostel charges, a false impression was created as if the administration was bringing about these changes to harm the students, Kumar said. He explained that the nominal increase in the hostel charges was necessitated owing to a mounting fiscal pressure on the University budget, and to maintain a comfortable and conducive hostel accommodation. The administration made several attempts to establish meaningful dialogues with the agitating students to explain the rationale behind the new hostel charges, Kumar said. The agitating students prevented the teachers and other students from entering few school buildings, he added.
“The university is giving yet another chance to the students to complete their academic requirements of Monsoon semester 2019. I appeal to the agitating students to call off their strike and lockdown of certain school buildings,” Kumar said.