The protests at JNU took a new direction on Friday when 15 Deans and Chairpersons of Special Centers had appealed that the ongoing strikes and protests were proving to be a threat to the academic lives. However, contradictory were the statements of teachers and students who assured that classes were being conduct under the trees and in other open spaces irrespective of the protests.
The protest emerged in retaliation to the new Hostel Manual of the University under which the fees has been increased and curfew on the movement of the students has been placed. According to Saket Moon, “40% of the students admitted in JNU had annual parental income of less than Rs 1.4 lakh. The yearly hostel charges will be at least Rs 56,000. This will put pressure on the poor students.”
Mr. Sai Vishwakarma, a JNU student stated “IHA of JNU came up with a draconian draft hostel manual. This draft is anti student. There are very clauses which are conservative for example: the dress code clause. However, the clause which is affecting around 40% of the student in JNU is fee hike. The administration has imposed a massive hike in hostel fees that too without consulting student union once. They had arbitrarily imposed clauses like service charge, electricity and water consumption bill and miscellaneous which were earlier not applicable over students.This is going to affect my future course of education because now I have to think twice before getting enrolled for further studies. JNU is the only place where a student can research freely in his/her respective field due to being not dependent financially over his/her family. That’s why we all are totally against this IHA draft manual.”
The ongoing tension and stress between the administration and the students of JNU is seen to have no scope of resolution, instead the heat intensified after the Vice Chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar tweeted on Friday night about the Students “illegal captivity”.
The administration has shared it’s concern towards the continuous agitation by the students which is actually harming several innocent student. The university talked about their continuous attempts to engage in dialogues with the hostel representatives in order to solve the matter on the campus and prevent any sort of further protests.
Thus, the administration appealed to the agitating students to stop their propaganda and campaigns in order to let the vast majority of innocent students to concentrate on their studies, academic assignments and preparation for examinations.
However, this clever move of the administration did not bring the situation under control instead, it led to a mass strike on Monday, 11th of November in the JNU campus.
On the occasion of the third convocation ceremony in the campus with Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal “Nishank” as the Chief Guests, the university witnessed a mass protest from the students against the new Hostel Manual. Nishank and V.C Jagadesh Kumar were trapped inside the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) campus for around six hours, after the gates were blocked by the students.
Police was deployed near the venue where they tried to protect and stop the agitation. But the students claimed that the police used the force against them and several students sustained injuries. The police officials denied any sort of “lathi charge”.
The officer said they had received intelligence inputs about the protests becoming big and thus 600 police officers were deployed outside the campus right from morning. The barricades were raised outside the north and west gates of JNU in the morning and four barricades were placed on the route between the JNU campus and the AICTE building but the students broke through them one after the other and reached the convocation venue around 10.30 am. Finally water cannons were used to disperse the protesters and police said some of the students were detained.
Arya said, “Police did not use any kind of force and exercised restraint. We were constantly in touch with the officials from the administration and the students to ensure that the issues were resolved peacefully. We even facilitated the interaction of the students with the HRD Minister so that they could submit their memorandum of demands.”
The All India Students’ Association has called for a national protest day on November 14.JNUSU Vice- President explained that 4 of their members were able to meet the HRD Minister and explained the situation to him. Also they submitted the memorandum of 11- points and look forward to the meeting with the V.C. Later, the HRD ministry tweeted about the positive conversation of Nishank with the JNU students about their problems and assured that a solution will be found soon.
Nevertheless, two major strikes are scheduled to be held on the 13th and 14th of November.