New Delhi: The Ministry of Human Resource Department will meet a delegation of agitating Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students and teachers again on Friday after Thursday’s meeting did not result in a fruitful outcome.
A massive protest march was led out by JNU students and faculty towards Rashtrapati Bhavan demanding the removal of their Vice-Chancellor Jagadesh Kumar over Sunday’s attack as well as the fee hike row that was raised by the students earlier. However, the protest ended up in lathi-charge after the Delhi Police intervened and manhandled several demonstrators. Many students were dragged into police buses and detained, while several others were injured.
Panic-struck footage was posted on social media platforms showing Delhi Police hauling female protestors as they were stopped from marching towards Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The Delhi Police said that the gathering at HRD ministry was provoked by one of the student leaders who led demonstrators to march towards the Rashtrapati Bhavan. They also stopped normal traffic at Rajendra Pd Road, the police said. Meanwhile, JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh affirmed that students and faculty will not relent till Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar is sacked.
Earlier on Thursday afternoon, scores of students, teachers and civil society groups, including political leaders Sitaram Yechury, D Raja, Prakash Karat, Brinda Karat as well as Sharad Yadav, began a march starting from Mandi House. The plan was to head to go to the HRD ministry at Shastri Bhavan and submit a memorandum in connection to the Sunday mob attack inside the university campus, along with a demand for the removal of the JNU’s vice-chancellor.
HRD Secy Amit Khare Reacts
Responding to the undying demands seeking the JNU VC’s dismissal, HRD Secy Amit Khare said, “Whatever has happened in the last few days is extremely sad. Students have a list of grievances. The teachers also have grievances against the administration, we are trying to resolve all of them.”
He added that the agitated students have been offered another meeting on Friday to raise their demands regarding the January 5 incident and claims of the revised fee not being implemented. “Such incidents should not re-occur,” he asserted.
Security Tightened in Parts of Delhi
Following the incident and in anticipation of growing agitation, security has been beefed up at Rashtrapati Bhavan in Vijay Chowk area. The security has also been tightened at the North Block and South Block in view of the protests. Additional police forces will remain deployed for the entire night in these areas.
Former HRD Minister Calls For JNU VC’s Removal
Remarkably, first of saffron leaders to come in support of the protesting students, BJP veteran and former HRD minister Murli Manohar Joshi said that that the JNU administration, as well as V-C Kumar, had neglected the advice to implement a working formula that resolves the issue of enhanced hostel fees. Such an attitude was ‘deplorable’ and the VC should be removed from his post, he stated in a Twitter post.
“It is shocking that the V-C is adamant for not implementing the government proposal. This attitude is deplorable and in my opinion, such a V-C should not be allowed to continue on this post,” he said.
Congress Targets Centre Over JNU Attack
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh urged for the resignation of JNU VC Jagadesh Kumar and alleged that the Sunday violence, that left more than 35 students and teachers injured, did not occur out of the blue but instead was “officially sponsored goondaism“.
“It has been 72 hours, the incident was not sudden but planned. We all know who is behind it. MHRD [Ministry of Human Resource Development] and Home Minister are behind the violence. This is ‘official sponsored goondaism’,” the senior Congress leader was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
JNU VC Jagadesh Kumar Requests ‘Normalcy’
The targetted vice-chancellor, Jagadesh Kumar, had on Wednesday sought normalcy at the JNU campus and requested parties to not politicise the mob attack any further. “Please leave us alone and let us do our work,” he had said after several visits of the CPI(M), the Congress, as well as Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader Kanimozhi.