Published: 25th November 2019
Former JNUSU presidents join fee hike protest, demands high Court enquiry on police brutality
At a press conference here, they said the students of JNU always protested against issues in the country and raised concerns over the manner in which they were dealt by the authorities
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury and politburo member Prakash Karat and other former presidents of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU) expressed solidarity with the students demanding a rollback of the fee hike and demanded a quick enquiry by a High Court judge on the alleged police violence on the students during a rally in Delhi. They also said that the protest should not be seen as a "Left vs BJP" issue but the demands should be judged on its merit.
At a press conference in Delhi, they said the student representatives and teachers should be part of all democratic decision-making of educational institutions across the country. They added that the JNU students have always protested against issues in the country and raised concerns over the manner in which they were dealt with by the authorities. They also released a joint statement, signed among others by NCP leader Devi Prasad Tripathi, expressing solidarity with the students.
The youngest of the lot and JNUSU president for 2018-19, N Sai Balaji said that they are demanding an immediate rollback of the fees and that there are no two ways about it. "Former JNUSU Presidents across all party lines are coming in solidarity with the movement and appealing to students and JNU alumni across India to stand with the JNU students in this fight demanding affordable, accessible and quality education. We will be demanding an immediate rollback for all and build larger solidarities," said Balaji, the newly-appointed National President of the All India Students' Association. Other than Balaji, Sitaram Yechury, Dr D Raghunandan, Nalini Ranjan Mohanti, Shakeel Ahmad Khan, Devi Prasad Tripathi are among the former Presidents to address a press conference at IWPC, Windsor Place, Ashoka Road at 1.30 pm on November 25.
The MHRD-appointed 'high power' committee is also supposed to come to a decision about the students' demands of rejecting the hostel manual and fee hike soon, sources at the university said. But the committee also harped on the fact that they are merely a recommendatory body and cannot ensure the execution of their recommendations.
Apeksha Priyadarshini, a member of students' organisation BASO said that the committee or the concerned authorities must find a way to implement their recommendations. "The committee said that this was the last of their meetings with both the parties and that they will try to decide on something by Monday," she said. "They agreed to many of our rationale and demands. They took into account that the IHA meeting needs to reconvene, there needs to be a dialogue between the administration and the students and they also took into account that we do not need a differential fee structure. But whatever be the discussion and the resulting recommendation it would be of no use if the VC does not accept it. We urged them to find a way to ensure that the recommendations are taken into consideration and implemented as soon as possible," she added.