Tag Archives: JNUTA

JNU Teachers Association condemns the arrest of Umar Khalid

Statement issued by JNUTA, representing the voices of JNU faculty 

The JNUTA condemns the arrest by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police of former JNU student, Umar Khalid, under the draconian UAPA. This is yet another instance of the never ending witch hunt being conducted by the Delhi Police in the name of inquiring into the February 2020 riots in Delhi, an inquiry with which Umar Khalid had been voluntary cooperating. The JNUTA notes that Umar Khalid had also been one of those specially targeted during the vicious slander campaign unleashed against JNU in February 2016 and had then been charged with ‘sedition’. That smear campaign fuelled by sections of the media had put his life in danger and in 2018 he fortuitously survived a murderous attack against him. Since then he was supposed to be under the ‘protection’ of the Police and yet he is accused of having been part of a ‘conspiracy’ for instigating the violence in North-East Delhi. It is clear, therefore, that his safety is at risk even when he is in custody and not just because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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DIsmantling of JNu

20 September is close. Birthday of Chandrashekhar. The young left leader who was murdered in Siwan in 1997. Before he went there he was in the Jawaharlal Nehru University. Known to generations of the university as the President of its students’union. We organise an annual  memorial lecture in his name at Patna . This year we had decided to invite a Professor from his university to deliver the lecture. She said a cautious yes as she was not sure if she would be given leave for it. For the last three years the teachers of the JNU have seen their leave application rejected, not only for popular lectures like the one above but also for seminars organised by their professional bodies or peers. But we insisted that she should try. So, we wrote a formal invitation letter to her, without mentioning the significance of the lecture. I apologised to Chandrashekhar for my cowardice. He would have smiled and called it an act of Brechtian cunning, defeating the vicious enemy non-violently.

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JNUTA statement on HRD Minister’s Observations

JNUTA is disappointed at the statement by the Minister of Human Resource Development regarding the number of research scholars working with each faculty in JNU, and considers his remarks as unbefitting of the Minister of Human Resource Development.

First of all, the claim that there are JNU teachers guiding more than 20/25 registered students is simply false, as this suppresses the important fact that JNU like other universities across India, has a provision that allows students to deregister from the university. This provision has proved very beneficial, as it enables students to take up employment and slow-track their PhDs until their life circumstances allow them to return to their jobs.  It is only when deregistered students over a decade are included that some professors can have a reasonably large number.

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University Administration Trying to Precipitate Crisis: JNUTA

We are reproducing a statement issued by JNUTA on 19 February 2017, on the situation in the university and the administration’s attempts to create a crisis where there is none.

The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers Association is deeply distressed at the continuing impasse in the University. Pursuant to its appeal on 13 February to the Vice-Chancellor to initiate a dialogue with the students, JNUTA has through the last week requested a meeting with him to discuss the situation on campus, but has not even received the courtesy of a reply. It has also spoken daily to the students worried about their future and that of the university about the concerns that the teachers, staff, and officers have at restoring the smooth functioning of the University administration building. Continue reading University Administration Trying to Precipitate Crisis: JNUTA

An Appeal by JNU Teachers on the Disappearance of Najeeb Ahmed

We, the undersigned teachers of JNU, are deeply concerned about the continued absence of Najeeb Ahmad, a student of M.Sc. Biotechnology, who was last reported as seen  on JNU campus on 15 October 2016. We express our deepest sympathy and solidarity with Najeeb’s mother, sisters and extended family, and share in their anxiety and despair at the fact that even after ten days of Najeeb’s disappearance, neither the police not the JNU authorities have been able to provide any credible leads to his whereabouts; indeed, both have failed to even keep the JNU community informed of the progress of the search operations.

The JNUTA has repeatedly requested the VC to issue a personal appeal assuring Najeeb complete security and due process and to immediately set up a channel for the dissemination of this information, but to our dismay, the JNU administration has taken no concrete steps in this direction.The very least the JNU administration can do at this juncture is to issue a press release detailing all the steps it has taken thus far in facilitating the search for Najeeb, including its own efforts as well as its communications to the police and other authorities, and thereafter issue daily bulletins on the developments in the search. This willingness to share information with the JNU community and particularly Najeeb’s distraught and anxious mother and family, is absolutely imperative, both as a measure of enforcing accountability as well as to prevent the circulation of unfounded rumours. Continue reading An Appeal by JNU Teachers on the Disappearance of Najeeb Ahmed

JNUTA Statement on Suspension of Dr Shreya Bhattacharji in Jharkhand Central University

The Following is a statement from JNUTA

30 March 2016

On actions of the VC of Central University of Jharkhand

The JNUTA condemns in the strongest possible terms the suspension of Dr. Shreya Bhattacharji and her removal from administrative positions by the Vice Chancellor of Central University of Jharkand. What is simply outrageous is the action on her part that has been deemed as ‘misconduct’ – namely, inviting an eminent academic to be a Guest of Honour at a function in the University. She was assigned the responsibility to organize the event. The presumption underlying the accusation – that the credentials of the invited scholar, Professor M.N. Panini, were questionable as he is considered to be “mentor of the group of students of JNU, who were involved in anti-national activities in JNU campus recently” – would be laughable if it were not a scandal.

Clearly, the maligning of Professor Panini is simply on account of his association with JNU, where he served on the faculty with distinction for many years before his retirement, and has absolutely no relation with recent incidents in JNU.

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The Right to Reason and Imagine: Architects in Solidarity with the JNU Community

Guest Post by Architects from all over India and elsewhere

To: The JNU Teachers Association, JNU Students Union

CC: Vice Chancellor, JNU

We, the undersigned, are writing this in utmost shock and despair regarding the recent events and developments at your campus. We want to extend our full support to the JNU teachers association and the democratically elected JNU Student Union. We believe there is a difference between the nation, the state and the government of the day, and fully support your constitutional right to air your positions, as different or diverse as they may be, without illegal interference from any particular ruling ideology, party or state machinery.

As those engaged in architecture, we believe that imagination and reason are the highest of human faculties. This gift is what we constantly cultivate and rely on – in academia and in practice – when we question what exists, however natural, fixed and irreplaceable it may seem, and fearlessly posit alternatives. Indeed, there is little difference for us between possessing a moral imagination and being able to imagine such alternate worlds and other ways of being.

The inability therefore to envision life in another’s shoes, to disagree and to counter ideas with more aesthetic or eloquent ones without resorting to character assassination, violence and charges of anti-nationalism, betray to us an alarming lack of imagination, and we strongly condemn this in all its forms.

We condemn this absence of imagination and the physical and epistemic violence it has unleashed on the university community especially teachers and students. We stand with you in support of the university as a marketplace of ideas where all ideas and opinions are passionately argued, ripped apart, defended and critically re-imagined in ever new ways, leading to a more enlightened citizenry. This must be allowed to happen without fear or favor, risk of persecution or charges of sedition. If nothing else, the imagination of our founding fathers demands it, and we are in solidarity with your right to exercise it.

(This statement represents us in our individual capacities and not the institutions we are associated with.)

(In alphabetical order)

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Why our universities are in ferment

Published in The Hindu today

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Image courtesy Morung Express

As over two thousand students and teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University gathered peacefully on Saturday to protest police action on campus and the arrest of the President of the Students’ Union, a potentially dangerous stampede was set in motion at the front, when at Rahul Gandhi’s entrance, media people with cameras rushed unheedingly into the thickly clustered people seated on the ground. The situation was exacerbated by a further push into that space by about fifteen Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists holding black flags and shouting slogans against Rahul Gandhi. Within seconds, however, the students conducting the meeting had organized a human chain to hold back and corral the media and the ABVP safely into one corner, and the human chain was then immediately taken up by the hundreds of teachers present. Until Rahul Gandhi left, the handful of ABVP activists continued their slogans, but they could only be heard by those seated in their immediate vicinity.

This is how students and teachers have always maintained, through the gravest provocations, perhaps the most peaceful campus in the country. Debate and dissent have always been part of its ethos but never violence, an ethos unfamiliar to those who only know violent suppression of dissent. Continue reading Why our universities are in ferment

Democratic Ethos of the University Under Threat: JNU Teachers’ Association

Statement by JNUTA
JNU has always been a University where there has been a vibrant democratic culture, where diverse political ideological and academic views have engaged with each other in a spirit of peaceful dialogue and debate. The JNU teaching community is extremely concerned at the threat to the democratic ethos, which has played a critical role in ensuring that the University serves its social functions and secures its position as one of the premier institutions of higher education.
The University, having already instituted an enquiry to ascertain the facts and to take necessary action and there being no disruption of academic or any other regular functioning of the University, JNUTA strongly believes that the current excessive police action is totally uncalled for and it has only aggravated the situation. In view of this, JNUTA expresses its deep anguish over the University Administration’s decision to give a carte blanche to the police to enter the campus to search different premises and even make random arrests.
The teachers of JNU have always stood for upholding the Constitution of India and values enshrined therein and are opposed to any unconstitutional activity in the campus or outside. This very sentiment makes us express our strong opposition to attempts to use the law and the police to suppress democratic dissent and conduct a witch-hunt on our campus. The fact that the JNU Students Union (JNUSU) President is the first to be arrested establishes it. The JNUTA, following its Emergency Meeting, expresses its deep concern on the recent developments on our campus. The teachers of the University condemn the massive police presence and the attempt to escalate tensions.
JNUTA stands with the entire JNU community to maintain normalcy on our campus by immediately withdrawing the police and releasing all those detained.