Student activists in the campus are planning another round of protests against the JNU Administration, which on last Tuesday released a notice expelling 10 students who allegedly barged in during the Academic Council meeting going on in the Convention Centre on Monday, December 26 to raise their demands of reduction of viva marks from 30 to 10, rollback of fee hike and implementation of minority deprivation points. The Administration claimed that they had broken the locks of the door and disrupted the meeting; the Academic Council meeting is the highest decision-making body of the varsity.
The students—eight of them presently studying in different centres of the University,: Rahul Sonepimple ( Student Union Presidential Candidate, BAPSA), Bhupali Kusum Vitthal (BAPSA), Dawa Sherpa (DSU), Mulayam Singh Yadav (United OBC Forum), Dilip Yadav (SFS), Shakeel Anjum (Former Student Union General Secretary from AISA, independent activist currently), Prashant Kumar and Mrintunjay Singh have denied disrupting the meeting but have claimed that they wanted their demands to be heard by the Administration, which they called “has turned authoritarian, just like the government.” Two other students—Birendra and Praveen have been listed as outsiders though the students said that they are pursuing their PhD and are in their third and first semesters respectively. The students are facing an academic suspension and removal from hostel “with immediate effect.”
Not insignificantly,most of the students belong to marginalised sections such as SC, ST and minority category and hail from far-flung and backward areas of the country. The JNU Students Union, led by representatives from AISA and SFI has said that they stand in solidarity with the suspended students and shall fight hard to get the suspensions revoked.
However, the students from Ambedkarite and extreme-left parties have declined to fight the movement under the Union which they claimed to be “Brahminical just like the Administration and the Teachers’ Union.” Rahul Sonepimple from BAPSA commented, “both the Administration and the Union condemned our protest as undemocratic…both of them collectively passed the decision of fee hike, the AISA-SFI led Union failed to show up for the protest as well. They [AISA-SFI] must close their shops of solidarity and enjoy a cup of Brahminical impunity with casteist JNUTA and JNU Administration.” Shehla Rashid had earlier in the day tweeted that BAPSA’s “actions were just political positioning.” A wave 0f comments and rebuttals from Ambedkarite fractions had condemned the statement
Around a hundred students had gathered at the iconic Administration Building, or Freedom Square—a moniker coined by the left-leaning students, to protest against the move. The Union was absent, raising further questions about the unity of the student movement on a campus that has seen turbulent months since the February 9 incident when several students of the campus were arrested for allegedly raising “anti-national” slogans, all of them were later granted bail. The students with tambourines and posters called for a revocation of the order and called upon the Vice Chancellor to speak to the students. Few teachers had also joined the protest. After sloganeering for about half an hour students from across schools took turns to voice out their opinions. Birendra Kumar, a student at Centre of Historical Studies said that the decision was an “attack on the
Later in the day, sources confirmed that a section of teachers called upon the protesting students and the Student Union representatives and persuaded them for a united fight as opposed to sectarian protests that are “against the spirit of JNU.” However, an all-organization meeting could not be convened.
JNUSU later decided for a protest march “Fight Back JNU” from Ganga Dhaba; the march did not see the participation of any political group apart from AISA and SFI. The Students Union has urged the students to join the “march of social justice” and “give united rejection to al tactics of the sanghi Vice Chancellor.” Till wee hours in the morning, messages kept pouring on various JNU debate pages and groups on Facebook and other social media with students with different political orientations arguing on the further course of action. ABVP, however, seemed disinterested.