Published: 04th December 2019
'Will the Parliament watch as VC destroys students' careers?' JNUTA asks in appeal to MPs
The JNUTA has asked why the MHRD is unwilling to answer the basic question as to why the process it had initiated has not been brought to its logical conclusion
The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers' Association sent an appeal on Tuesday to members of both the houses of the Parliament asking them to use their position in all ways possible to urge the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to perform its duty of finding a speedy and just resolution of an extremely grave situation at the varsity.
The appeal goes on to state that in light of the continuing protests at JNU against the proposed fee hike and the draft hostel manual, on November 17, the MHRD had notified the constitution of a three-member High Power Committee (HPC) with the clearly stated objective of "restoring normal functioning of Jawaharlal Nehru University through dialogue with all the stakeholders and to advise the University Administration for resolution of contentious issues". The Committee invited different sections of the university including students and teachers between November 19 and 22. The JNU Students' Union and the JNUTA participated in these proceedings and shared their concerns with the Committee. The Committees' work had been completed within a week and according to the JNUTA its report and recommendations were submitted to the MHRD by November 25, 2019.
The teachers have mentioned that following this, the process initiated by the constitution of the HPC inexplicably came to a complete standstill. "The HPC report has not been made public and no action has been taken on its basis even though more than a week has passed. Meanwhile, the JNU VC and the administration are continuing with their tactics of pretending to offer concessions which don’t address the main issue and trying to intimidate and threaten students," said D K Lobiyal, the JNUTA president in the letter to the members of the Parliament.
As a part of the appeal, the association of teachers has also stated that they had made a request for an urgent appointment with the MHRD minister to discuss its concerns on the delays in resolving the JNU situation on November 28. When there was no response from the MHRD, teachers of JNU marched to the MHRD on December 2 in a peaceful 'MHRD Jawab Do' march.
"In what cannot but be considered a shameful action, no one at the Ministry was willing to even meet the JNUTA delegation let alone answer the simple question that was being posed to the Ministry. Despite the fact that advance intimation had been given of the march to the MHRD, a JNUTA delegation which just ten days ago had been invited by the MHRD to meet the HPC was stonewalled and denied even the minimum courtesy of an audience. Clearly, this could only be because the MHRD didn’t want to answer the questions about its conduct that it actually is duty-bound to do," states the appeal.
And finally, the teachers have urged the members of the Parliament, who are representatives of the people to assess for themselves "whether a Ministry accountable to the Parliament and the people of the country should be allowed to evade its responsibilities in this way and leave a Vice-Chancellor free to do untold damage to a public institution he is supposed to lead and administer."
"Can the Parliament of India watch on silently as one Vice-Chancellor murders the careers of thousands of students from across India simply to protect his autocracy?" they ask in their appeal.