This is a guest post by Rina Ramdev and Debaditya Bhattacharya
Students of JNU have been on an indefinite hunger-strike for over 15 days now, and the administration’s only official response so far had been the Vice Chancellor’s May 4 statement invoking the vocabulary of the ‘lawful’ and the ‘constitutional’ — in ambivalences closer to threat than appeal. The subsequent May 10 Academic Council meeting has been historic, both for its 53 members’ overwhelming denunciation of the HLEC report, as also for the indelible image of a fleeing VC now forever etched in campus folklore. Further, the Delhi High Court’s stay on the fine imposed upon one of the students lends hope for similar stays with the remaining beleaguered students’ cases. The VC has consequently been referring to the enquiry mandate as being sub-judice, only to grant it an interim legitimacy that may symbolically defeat the stridency of student resistance. Letters have been sent out to the parents of striking students, in an attempt to re-route intimidation and pressure through other non-official means of paternalism. Given the conditions of duress being thus created, until the HLEC’s report is revoked in entirety, there is every reason to believe that the administration’s vindictive punitive designs will leech into the future of university freedoms and campus democracy irreversibly.