Published: 12th September 2019
JNU students made to wait for hours to respond to 'midnight' notices, turned away as 'offices hours' over
The members said that they waited in front of Umesh Kadam's office for three hours, after which they were told that his office hours were over
The members of the JNU Election Committee allege that the Grievance Redressal Cell's Chairperson Umesh Kadam has refused to accept the explanation to their show cause notice and has threatened them with disciplinary action. The students who had gone to Kadam's office at 3 pm said that he had arrived two hours later, met them an hour after that and had refused to accept their letters stating that his office hours were over.
When the students eventually got to talk to Kadam, he allegedly said he was unwell and asked them to not to 'cause his blood pressure to rise'. "We're just students who had come with the letters that he'd asked. We're no criminals to be treated this bad," says the EC member. Kadam is a Professor in Medieval Indian History, Centre for Historical Studies, School of Social Science.
"The letters were sent to us the previous night and we had to submit an explanation within 24 hours. But despite waiting for such a long time, Kadam not only refused to accept our letter but also threatened us," says a member of the committee who spoke to us on request of anonymity. She was waiting in front of Kadam's office along with the other members on Thursday morning, waiting for him to receive the letter. "We had also asked him to give it in writing that we were at his office 24 hours before the deadline, but he refused to do so. Even today, he is calling students one by one, which is illegal," she says.
The letters that accused the Election Committee of violating rules of the Lyngdoh Committee were sent to all the members of the EC the previous night between 11 pm and 1 am. Allegedly, male guards had illegally entered women's hostels to deliver these letters. "A female member was taking a shower. She was asked to stop bathing and accept the letter. Are we not allowed to receive letters during office hours? If the administration can send letters at these hours, what is wrong with accepting our letters, when we were there way before the office hours had ended?" she asks.
The letters were sent to the students directly by the GRC, which is a judicial body. Students contended that it was 'unnatural' for the GRC to send a letter, without having a complainant. "This happens almost never. The GRC can't send a letter to the students, while others can raise their complaints to the cell. This is part of the administration's attempt to call the elections null and void," says the EC member. "The elections were free and fair and met all the guidelines of the Lyngdoh Committee," she adds.
Calls made and messages sent to Umesh Kadam did not yield a response. This copy will be updated once he responds.