Academic Community stands firmly with JNUSU President; 100+ academicians, activists, writers issue statement of solidarity

Guest Post by Shehla Rashid on behalf of the signatories
We, the undersigned, are deeply shocked by the shameful attempts by JNU Administration to crush dissent in the University through imposition of arbitrary fines on student activists, denial of registration to students engaged in protests against the administration, including the elected President of the Students’ Union, Mohit Pandey. We stand in solidarity with the JNUSU President who has decided not to pay the arbitrarily imposed fine of 20,000. Many more Students’ Representatives and activists of JNU campus are facing 5-6 inquiries and false FIRs for raising students’ issues.
It is also shocking that a duly elected representatives of the students is being fined such massive amounts for merely raising students’ issues. Several other students have paid the fines, in order to be allowed to register, being forced to succumb under the threat of having their registration held up. Several students with pending inquires are not getting their degree- mark sheets and unable to continue their studies further. This amounts to imposition of a tax/fee on dissent, thereby creating a chilling effect on freedom of expression in the University. This is unacceptable in a University where knowledge creation is contingent upon freedom of ideas.
We call upon the JNU administration to display maturity and stop penalising alternative viewpoints. The current fine of Rs. 20,000 that the JNUSU President is being asked to pay for restoration of his studentship pertains to an instance of anti-administration protests led by the students’ union against the complicity of the JNU Administration in the disappearance of an M.Sc. Biotechnology student named Najeeb Ahmed following a mob assault on him by members of a students’ group affiliated to the ruling party – who were indicted for the assault by a report of the Proctor’s Office, but shielded by the higher ups in the administration, leading the then Proctor to resign from office.
So, the students guilty of leading the lynch mob against Najeeb Ahmed were given no punishment at all, whereas students protesting against his disappearance – who were demanding that the JNU Administration should file a police complaint in the matter – were fined Rs.  20,000 each! Ever since the JNU VC has been appointed by the present government, students not belonging to the ruling party student group have been systematically targeted and penalised for speaking out. There is no record of similar fines upon right-wing groups which routinely engage in vandalism on campus. This clearly amounts to blatant viewpoint discrimination and also serves as a green signal to lynch mobs on campus.
The JNU Administration is using an archaic statute in the book to ban protests at the Administration Block. However, JNU has always had a healthy culture of dissent and protest. Protests against the administration have always been held outside the administration block itself. That the protests disturb the working of the administration is the most dubious pretext for crushing dissent, as there have been historic student movements on JNU campus which have only made the University stronger, its academic traditions more robust and its intellectual environment more egalitarian.
We, therefore, demand that
1) the JNU administration must end its petty tactics of penalising dissent;
2) JNUSU President, Mohit Pandey, must be allowed to register for the next academic semester, unconditionally;
3) all fines against students being imposed for the mere act of protest must be revoked unconditionally;
4) JNU Administration must stop trying to deprive students of the right to protest at the Administration Block, and engage, instead in dialogue with the elected students’ body without bias against the ideology held by the student union representatives;
5) JNU Administration must punish the students who assaulted Najeeb Ahmed, resulting in his disappearance.
Sd/-
Prof. Anand Teltumbde, Senior Professor, Goa Institute of Management
Prof. Anil Sadgopal, Former Dean, Faculty of Education, University of Delhi; Member, Presidium, All India Forum for Right to Education
Dr. Rohan D’Souza, Associate Professor, Kyoto University, Japan
Prof. Chaman Lal, Retired Professor, JNU; Former President, JNUTA
Prof. Nivedita Menon, Professor, Centre for Comparative Politics and Political Theory, School of International Studies, JNU, New Delhi
Jairus Banaji, Research Professor, SOAS, University of London
Prof. Laxman Gaddam, Professor of Commerce, Osmania University
Anwesha Sengupta, Assistant Professor, Institute of Development Studies, Kolkata
Arvind, Professor, IISER Mohali
Rana Partap Behal, Associate Professor (Retd.), Deshbandhu College, University of Delhi. Association of Indian Labour Historians.
Madhu Kushwaha, Professor, BHU
Brinda Bose, Associate Professor, JNU
Debaditya Bhattacharya, Assistant Professor, Nivedita College, University of Calcutta
Dr. Rohini Hensman, Writer and Independent Scholar
Anand Mathew, Director, Prerana Kala Manch, Varanasi
Mary E John, Researcher, Centre for Women’s Development Studies
Padma Velaskar, Professor (Retd.), Tata Institute of Social Sciences
Ravi Kumar, Associate Professor, South Asian University
Ritajyoti Bandyopadhyay, Assistant Professor, IISER Mohali
R. Nandakumar, Art Historian, IGNCA
Madhu Prasad, Associate Professor (Retd.), Zakir Hussain College, DU
K. Laxminarayana, Professor, Hyderabad Central University
Jean Chapman, Adjunct Professor, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
T K Arun, Editor, Opinion, The Economic Times
John Cherian, Journalist, Frontline
Teesta Setalvad, Journalist, Activist, Educationist; Citizens for Peace and Justice; Sabrang India
Ravindra Tomar, Senior Researcher, Parliament of Australia
Manorama Sharma, Retired Professor, NEHU
Dr. Sushmita Sengupta, Associate Professor, NEHU
Prof. K. Chakradhar Rao, Member, Presidium, All India Forum for Right To Education
Perumal Vijayan, Research Associate, University of Saskatchew
Sangeeta Chatterji, Doctoral Candidate, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Mohd Mushtaq, Assistant Professor, Govt. Degree College, Baramulla, J&K
Hiren Gohain, Retired University Teacher
Nandini Rao, Social Activist, JNU Alumnus
Devyani Borkataki, Activist, Northeast Network
Kiran Shaheen, Director, Media Action Group
Wilfred Dcosta, Convenor, Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF)
Firoz Ahmed, Teacher, Lok Shikshak Manch
Manoj Chahal, Research Scholar, University of Delhi
Manuj Mukherjee, Ph.D. Scholar, Indian Institute of Science
Sanjay Palshikar, Professor, University of Hyderabad
Dr Navneet Sharma, Assistant Professor, Central University of Himachal Pradesh
Bhangya Bhukya, Associate Professor, University of Hyderabad
Abani K Bhuyan, Professor, University of Hyderabad; President of the University of Hyderabad Teachers’ Association
Dr. G. Vijay, Assistant Professor, University of Hyderabad
Sohail Hashmi, Freelance Writer, Filmmaker, JNU Alumnus
Nikhil Kumar, Policy Analyst
Roger Alexander, Independent Journalist, Pink City Press Club
Saeed Haider, Associate Editor, Saudi Gazette
Rajesh, Activist, Lok Shikshak Manch
N.D. Jayaprakash, JNU Alumnus
Anjal Lele, Travel Consultant; former JNU Student
Dr. Vikas Bajpai, Assistant Professor, Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Indira C, Public Health Researcher; Consultant
Rashmi Kumari, Ph. D., Jawaharlal Nehru Univerity
Dr. C. Sadasiva, Associate Professor, Deptt. of Botany, Dyal Singh College, University of Delhi
Sajid, National Vice-President, Campus Front of India; Ph.D. Scholar, JNU
Shehla Rashid Shora, Research Scholar, JNU
Mohit P Gandhi, Ph.D. Scholar, CSMCH, JNU
Vasanthi Gupta, Academician; JNU Alumnus
Apurba K. Baruah, Retired Professor, North Eastern Hill University, Shillong
K. Laxminarayana, Professor, University of Hyderabad
Dayaram Yadav, Former General Secretary
Dr. M. Gangadhar, Chief Editor, Adhyapaka Jwala; Democratic Teachers’ Federation, Telangana
Avinash Chandra Jha, former Associate Professor; former JNU student
Mohan Rao, Professor, JNU
Shashwati Goswami, Research Scholar, CSMCH, JNU
Joby Joseph, Associate Professor, University of Hyderabad
Sumegha, student, JNU
Caroline C. Netto, Ph.D. Scholar, JNU
Ramesh Patnaik, Former General Secretary, JNUSU
Sri Raghunath Joshi, Professor (Retd.)
Thokchom Surjit Singh, Social Activist; All India forum for Right to Education
Ratan Kumar, Ph.D. Scholar, Centre for Historical Studies, JNU
Susmit Isfaq, Student, NLU Assam; Students’ Federation of India
Roobala, Ressearch Scholar, Indian Institute of Science
Himangshu Baruah, student
D N Reddy, Professor of Economics (Retd.), University of Hyderabad
Akshay Pathak, General Secretary, AIRSO
K Venugopal, Chief Editor, Upadhyaya Dharshini
B Sudha, Retird Teacher, TPTF
M. Raghushankerreddy, State President, Democratic Teachers’ Federation; All India Forum for Right to Education
Aviroop Sengupta, Ph.D. Scholar, Centre for Historical Studies, JNU
M. Balakumar, Headmaster; DTF
Arunank, State General Secretary, Democratic Students’ Union, Telangana
V. Raji Reddy, HM, Democratic Teachers’ Federation
Manjari Gupta, Post Doctoral Fellow, HRI
M. Somaiah, Teacher; State Vice-President, DTF
Vijay Kumar, Central Committee Member, CPI(ML) Red Star
Somasekharasarma, Retd. English Lecturer; AIFRTE
Kalyani Menon Sen, JNU Alumnus, (1977 batch)
T. Sobha Rani, Associate Professor, University of Hyderabad
Shephali Frost, Writer, Poet, Musician
Srinivas Reddy A., Teacher, Democratic Teachers’ Federation
Bittu Karthik, Associate Professor, Ashoka University
Shuddhabrata Sengupta, Artist / Writer, Raqs Media Collective, Delhi
Madhu, State Secretary, Democratic Teachers’ Federation
Suraj Beri, Doctoral Candidate, Centre for the Study of Social Systems, JNU
Vijay Shankwe Choudhary, Producer/Director Films and Television, former JNU Student (1972-81 batch)
Shilpa Shital, Research Scholar, IIT Delhi
Partho Sarothi Ray, Assistant Professor, IISER Kolkata
Nupur, Research Scholar, JNU
Susie Tharu, Retired Professor, EFLU
Sarwat Ali, Associate Professor, IASE (Jamia Millia Islamia)
Dyuti, Researcher and Activist
P. S. Mukherjee, Founder Member, Friends of Latin America-India
D. M. Diwakar, Professor, A N Sinha Institute of Social Sciences, Patna, Bihar
Muzaffar Ahmad Dar, Research Scholar, Centre for Historical Studies, JNU
Aishik Gupta, Activist
Aijaz Ahmed, Lecturer, Shinas College of Technology, Ministry of Manpower, Oman
Vandana Mahajan, Independent Development Practitioner, Feminist Movement for Equality, Justice and Non-discrimination
Afzal Hussain, Masters Student, CAAS, JNU
Masood Ahmed Azhar, Research Scholar, JNU; NSUI
Harshad Tayade, Engineering Student, Pune University
Shivam, Student, University of Hyderabad
Dharti Putra, Student, BIT Sindri, Dhanbad, Jharkhand

JNU Teachers on allegations of motive behind car vandalism

STATEMENT FROM JNU TEACHERS

We, members of the JNU faculty, are deeply shocked at the kinds of allegations and speculations being made because a faculty member’s car was vandalised a couple of nights ago. Obviously the incident in which the windshield of the car was found shattered in the morning,  is worrisome, and cause for concern – yet this is not an isolated incident on an otherwise safe campus. In past months other faculty members living on campus have had similar experiences, where random acts of vandalism have occurred, in different parts of the university. However, no one, until now, has made either baseless allegations or blamed students’ groups, or levelled charges against any particular political ideology.

This is the first time that such quick, and hasty conclusions have been drawn. Instead of investigating a matter of vandalism, this is being recast as some kind of political conspiracy and vendetta. This does not reflect the spirit of JNU – which has always been collegial despite its many differences. It is only since early 2016 that we are seeing this sense of reflective engagement fraying – which ought to be a cause of concern for us all.

We would also wish to state that the untimely loss of every life is, and should be, one of great sorrow. And it is particularly so in the cases of ordinary jawans, most of whom come from impoverished families and have few opportunities, especially to study, and to make a better life for themselves. Who knows – had their families had the wherewithal for educating their children – they too could have been university professors. The baseless allegations against JNU being levelled at the moment, purportedly in support of the killing of jawans in Sukma, neither respects their lives and immense challenges, nor does it show any concern for the university and its community.

At a time when the JNU community is facing grave challenges, and its excellent academic environment is at risk, it is the duty of the faculty to maintain calm. Instead, such baseless allegations are adding to a situation of anxiety and distress, especially for students who are in the midst of examinations, other than facing an uncertain future.  An attack on JNU at this moment not merely adds to existing conditions of worry, but is, in the last instance, an attack on public universities and the values they stand for. As B.R. Ambedkar famously said, “Education is something which ought to be brought within the reach of everyone… the policy therefore ought to be to make higher education as cheap to the lower classes as it can possibly be made.” JNU is one of those universities in India that has enabled students from socially and economically deprived backgrounds to achieve their dreams. No retroactive condolences will absolve us of the responsibility of killing those dreams and futures.   Continue reading “JNU Teachers on allegations of motive behind car vandalism”

Shut down JNU if not one way then another? JNUTA statement on UGC regulations

JNU administration has drastically cut intake into the university for the next academic session and perhaps for years to come, using the UGC ‘caps’ on research as a pretext. JNU Teachers’ Association demonstrates conclusively here through a survey of 46 Central Universities, that barring a handful which have definitively adopted them, most others are still operating with other Regulations based on the preceding 2009 version. And even the few universities that have adopted them, barring JNU, have implemented modifications by way of harmonisation with the statutes, objects, and past practices of the institutions.

JNU not being targeted using the UGC Regulations as a pretext? Right.

Over the past few weeks we have been told that the mandatory nature of the UGC Regulations require them to be implemented by universities immediately and in a chapter-and- verse fashion. JNUTA’s survey of 46 Central Universities however shows that barring a handful who have definitively adopted them, most others are still operating with other Regulations based on the preceding 2009 version. And for even the few universities that have adopted them, barring JNU, modifications in the way of harmonisation with the statutes, objects, and past practices of the institution have inevitably resulted.

Table 1 presents the facts of 46 Central Universities, the year of their founding, and the research programmes they take admission to. To determine whether they had adopted the 2016 UGC Regulations, we examined the Ordinances and notifications on the university website in order to detect its adoption. (The value label unclear is to mark the cases where no explicit information of either type was posted on the university’s website.)CENTRAL UNIVS WITH UGC 2016 Continue reading “Shut down JNU if not one way then another? JNUTA statement on UGC regulations”

Ex-ABVP Activists Reflect on How the ABVP Orchestrated 9th of February in JNU Last Year: Jatin Goraya and Pradeep Narwal

Guest Post by JATIN GORAYA and PRADEEP NARWAL

ABVP ARE THE FOOT-SOLDIERS OF THIS FASCIST GOVERNMENT WHO ORCHESTRATED THE ATTACK ON JNU POST 9TH FEB LAST YEAR!

APPEAL TO EVERYONE TO REJECT AND ISOLATE THE KILLERS OF ROHITH AND THOSE WHO ORCHESTRATED THE #SHUTDOWNJNU CAMPAIGN!

As JNU is still recovering from the aftershocks of last year sangh parivar’s attack on our university post 9th of February we are again facing an unprecedented attack on our university – its democratic space, progressive admission policy, its inclusive character. The latter has been the heart and soul of JNU which the student movement has built over the last four decades. Last year’s attack was an attack on our right to dissent, to curb our democratic spaces and to implement the fascist Hindutva agenda on our universities. This year, in the name of “academic quality” and “excellence”, by reducing the seat intake & closing admission they want to ensure that none is able to access higher education in JNU.

We were members of ABVP previous to the events of Feb 9 last year, and we subsequently resigned because of our differences with this fascist, casteist, Brahmanical and patriarchal organisation. These differences, as we have earlier said, had been long standing ones. But after the orchestrated attack on JNU, we felt a limit had been crossed and we could no longer associate with ABVP. Continue reading “Ex-ABVP Activists Reflect on How the ABVP Orchestrated 9th of February in JNU Last Year: Jatin Goraya and Pradeep Narwal”

The Importance of Being Makarand Paranjape: Anirban Bhattacharya

Guest Post by ANIRBAN BHATTACHARYA

A few days back, drawing from Oscar Wilde’s classic, Makarand Paranjape wrote a piece titled The importance of being Narendra Modi. He urged his readers to ensure a second term for Modi saying “If Narendra Modi gets a second term, he will certainly change India in a lasting and significant way.” That he is going to change India, and is doing so already is not that far from truth, but the question is which way is this change taking us. Given the track record of Modi Ji(o) so far, the change is surely going to be for the worse. But this piece is not on Modi Ji(o). This one is on the Makarand Paranjapes of the world. Yes, they are not one. They are in fact a particular breed not new in history, and they have a particular role. Specifically, we would evaluate this role of theirs in the light of a recent piece of his on the gherao of the JNU VC.

Some would say that the piece was on the issue of Najeeb. But no, it wasn’t. Najeeb, a new student pursuing M.Sc in Bio-Tech living in Mahi-Mandavi hostel was publicly assaulted by identified ABVP goons in front of students as well as wardens on the night of 14th October. He was showered with dire consequences of which too there are multiple witnesses including again the hostel wardens. A vicious communal slur-campaign was set in motion by the sanghis writing “Muslims are terrorists” within the hostel premises. Amidst all of this and in the given context Najeeb “disappeared” on 15th October from his hostel. He had called his mother last, who, as it appears, had reached Anand Vihar and was on her way to meet her son in distress. But, by the time she was here, Najeeb went “missing” mysteriously and is yet to be found. After five days of entreating an unresponsive university administration to be proactive in creating conditions for Najee’s safe return, JNU students undertook an all night vigil on the 19th of October.

Continue reading “The Importance of Being Makarand Paranjape: Anirban Bhattacharya”

2 Weeks No #JusticeForNajeeb – A Few Thoughts on Yesterday’s March and the Way Forward: Shehla Rashid

Guest Post by Shehla Rashid.

Video and Photo Inputs from Naushad MK, Samim Asgor Ali and Amit Kumar

[ This post was written shortly after JNU students gathered in front of Vasant Vihar Police Station to articulate their concern and anger at the lax attitude taken so far by the Delhi Police and other concerned authorities in relation to the disappearance of Najeeb Ahmed almost two weeks ago. In this text, (originally uploaded as a note on Facebook and then sent to us to be posted at Kafila) Shehla Rashid, thinks aloud about what has happened so far and looks ahead at the possible way forward for the students of JNU and their supporters to focus on making sure that Najeeb Ahmed, wherever he is, returns safe and sound to the JNU campus. We hope that it will be widely read, and discussed to evolve strategies for the evolving future of the campaign to give justice to Najeeb. Kafila]

Shehla Rashid and Others Being Confronted by Delhi Police at the Vasant Vihar Chakka Jam on Oc. 26, 2016

 

First of all, I’d like to express my gratitude to all the students who joined the Chakka Jam at Vasant Vihar police station, where the ACP refused to even accept the paper with our demands and, instead, ordered a lathi-charge on us. Students marched as one and stayed together till the end, despite all differences, for one goal- justice for Najeeb, and his safe return to campus life. I salute this spirit of JNU students. Having said that, I must say that we need to do more. Students need to come out in even greater numbers, as the attack on us is of immense magnitude.

Continue reading “2 Weeks No #JusticeForNajeeb – A Few Thoughts on Yesterday’s March and the Way Forward: Shehla Rashid”

The RSS war on thought and ABVP as foot soldiers

Ever since the present Modi government came to power, there appears to have been a clear set of orders issued from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) headquarters to its student organization, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), to go on the rampage in university campuses all over India. From getting specific parts of syllabuses changed under threat of violence, disrupting events by other student organizations on campuses, to forcing university administrations to intervene to curb freedom of expression, to filing police complaints against dissenters, they seem to have been acting according to a well rehearsed script, subverting democratic processes on campuses. After its recent electoral defeats in JNU and Hyderabad Central University (HCU), however, the ABVP’s role seems to have acquired an even more virulent feature. The game plan appears to be to provoke violence wherever possible so that rather than any kind of debate, however contentious, on issues such as nationalism, minority rights and caste injustice, what we are increasingly likely to see are violent standoffs between student groups, which have to be controlled by the police. These are often represented in the media as brawls between students, as if there were no ideology or political content involved, just two groups of students “clashing.” But of course, in each case ABVP is involved, and in some kinds of reporting it can even be made to appear that ABVP was somehow the victim.

This is the moment at which teachers need to finally accept that ABVP is not just another student organization. We have tended to take the position in our universities that we must not condemn or directly address ABVP, since we must not directly involve ourselves in student politics. Teachers must talk to administration, be publicly critical of its lapses, take all measures necessary to display and enact our solidarity with students under attack by this regime. While students take their own decisions on modes of struggle and so on, teachers see our role as supportive but with a critical distance.

However, now we may need to start thinking of ways in which we  recognize the organization of the ABVP as a serious threat to Indian democracy. I don’t mean individual students, who would also be in our class-rooms, and with whom it may still be possible to continue a conversation, and whose examinations we will continue to grade with utmost probity. as we have always done.

But the ABVP as an organization has a specific role to play, as storm-troopers in the project of Hindu nationalism, and we cannot afford any longer not to face up to this fact frontally.

Continue reading “The RSS war on thought and ABVP as foot soldiers”