Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU)

From Indpaedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Hindi English French German Italian Portuguese Russian Spanish

This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.
You can help by converting these articles into an encyclopaedia-style entry,
deleting portions of the kind normally not used in encyclopaedia entries.
Please also fill in missing details; put categories, headings and sub-headings;
and combine this with other articles on exactly the same subject.

Readers will be able to edit existing articles and post new articles directly
on their online archival encyclopædia only after its formal launch.

See examples and a tutorial.


Admission policy

2017-18 norms

See graphic.

Admissions in Jawaharlal Nehru University, 2017-18; The Times of India, March 19, 2017

"The deprivation point model"

Manash Gohain, JNU may drop deprivation points, Mar 19, 2017: The Times of India

The Delhi high court dismissed JNU students' plea against the University Grants Commission's (UGC) notification and said that the commission's guidelines are “binding“ on all universities without any “deviation“. This would mean that the unique feature of the JNU admission policy -the deprivation point model -will no longer be applicable to admissions to research programmes, said a senior JNU official.

According to UGC norms, 100% weightage should be given to viva-voce (oral exam) for admissions to MPhil and PhD courses. JNU currently follows 70:30 weightage for the written test and the interview.

“... the binding nature of the said regulations is not dependent upon it being adopted or accepted by the respondent university or any other university in the country . In other words, the (UGC) regulations are binding on the university by operation of law, i.e., UGC Act, 1956,“ the court said.

Following protests by students against the oral exam, the JNU administration negotiated and agreed for 80% weightage for the written exam. But, with the court's verdict, even this model will not be possible, the official said.

This would mean doing away with the deprivation point model, which facilitates entry of students, especially women from backward regions. In fact, 26 more districts were included in the scheme and aspirants from these regions would get an additional five points, the official added.

Student leaders, however, are planning to move the court against Thursday's verdict. Mohit Pandey , president, JNUSU said, “The university counsel has not placed the complete facts about the notification on admission policy before court. Therefore, we don't agree with the verdict and will move the division bench.“

The university officials, however, said that the deprivation point model will continue for the undergraduate and masters' programmes.

“We tried to bring out the most inclusive policy within the given framework, but the students didn't cooperate with us and moved the court.Now, the university has no option but to implement the UGC notification in letter and spirit,“ said another senior official.

Student: professor ratio

HC upholds student: professor ratio/ 2017

Students' plea against admission policy junked, March 17, 2017: The Times of India

The JNU administration on Thursday won a major relief from the Delhi high court when it dismissed a plea by students challenging its latest admission policy of putting a cap on number of students per professor for MPhil and PhD courses.

Justice V K Rao said that the varsity's admission norms have to follow the University Grants Commission (UGC) notification of last year and it cannot deviate from these norms.

HC observed that “the binding nature of the said regulations is not dependent upon it being adopted or accepted by the respondent university or any other university in the country . In other words, the regulations are binding on the university by operation of law, i.e., UGC Act of 1956.“

The students had claimed that proper procedure was not followed by JNU while adopting the UGC notification but the court rejected this argument and reminded the students that the UGC Act, under which the regulation was issued, has been enacted by Parliament and prevails over any individual rules or Act framed by the university laying down procedure of admission.

The students had submitted that the regulation only sets out minimum standards to be followed and it was for JNU to decide how to implement them. But HC noted that “The UGC having framed the regulations, vide the notification of 2016, the varsity is required to follow the same. It is legally impermissible for JNU to formulate its own admission policy in violation of UGC Act and the regulations,“ it said.

HC, however, agreed that JNU's decision to change the weightage, for admission to the two courses, in the ratio of 80:20 of written and viva voce, was a deviation from the regulations and could not have been allowed, a stand that was later accepted by the administration during arguments.

JNU had maintained in court that the UGC Notification (Regulations) shall apply to every university established or incorporated by or under a Central Act, a Provincial Act or a State Act etc, and is binding and is mandatorily to be followed by all universities including JNU.

HC questions JNU’s student-teacher ratio/ 2018


New Delhi:

The Delhi high court on Thursday questioned the logic behind JNU’s student-teacher ratio after it tightened norms for admission to MPhil and PhD courses.

HC’s observations came after Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) said there are 399 students enrolled for its MPhil and PhD courses, whereas its faculty strength is over 500 teachers.

“You have tightened your norms, so the intake has dried up. At this rate, JNU is going to be a unique university where there would be three to four teachers for every one student,” a bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and A K Chawla pointed out.

HC also questioned the minimum cap set by JNU on number of students per research supervisor for MPhil and PhD courses in various subjects, saying this will “shut down teaching.”

Under the new admission norms, there is a cap, and reduction in seats because of a UGC regulation. The move had led to a series of agitations in the varsity by the students. It had also led to petitions filed in court challenging the new rules. On Thursday, HC reserved its verdict on a plea by the Students Federation of India (SFI) challenging the University Grants Commission (UGC) regulations on the eligibility and manner of admission to MPhil and PhD courses in the country.

In its defence, JNU argued that the teachers often go on sabbatical or worked on books or articles. But the bench was not satisfied and remarked that “on one hand you don’t want to spend on students, but you are willing to spend on teachers... Let them go, if they are not going to work.”

Agitations/ student unrest


Shradha Chettri, Dec 13, 2019 Times of India

It was after 36 years that examinations were not conducted in Jawaharlal Nehru University as scheduled on Thursday. In 1983, the closure of the university after student unrest had led to the cancellation of exams. This year, the boycott of tests was over the hike in hostel fees that the students want rolled back.

Kamal Mitra Chenoy, a retired JNU teacher, claimed it was for the first time that the administration hadn’t been able to conduct exams. “The cause of the cancellation in 1983 was very different from the reasons this year. This was bound to happen because the vice chancellor was not backing down on the fee hike,” he alleged. In 1983, over 350 students had been arrested during protests directed at the vice-chancellor.

Bikramaditya Kumar Choudhary, who teaches in the School of

Social Sciences, described the day as “unprecedented”. He said, “For the first time in 36 years, such a thing as this has happened in JNU. Yet some people want to portray everything here as normal. The administration is trying to create a fear psychosis by saying that action will be taken against those boycotting exams.”

Choudhary, who was a member of the JNU Teachers’ Association when the sedition case exploded on the campus in February 2016, said, “The end semester exams are only a process. Other assessment are done before that, including students making presentations. In JNU there is a continuous evaluation, though there has been on classes in the past three weeks.”

JNUTA president D K Lobiyal too said the semester had to be extended and time given to teachers and students to complete the semester course. “Exams have to be conducted before we move on to the next semester,” said Lobiyal.

However, administrative officials continued to claim that exams went on as scheduled on Thursday and would continue. A statement by registrar Pramod Kumar on Thursday said, “It was appreciated that the end semester examination scheduled on December 12 was conducted in several schools and centres. It was unanimously agreed in the meeting (between the vice chancellor and the deans of school and centre chairpersons) that the end semester examination must be completed as per the academic calendar.”

Fee hike, for national, international students

Mohammad Ibrar & Shradha Chettri, Nov 23, 2019: The Times of India

The admission process and fees for international students at the JNU, As in 2019
From: Mohammad Ibrar & Shradha Chettri, Nov 23, 2019: The Times of India

As the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus continues to simmer over hostel fee hike, the foreign students in the campus are battling even higher fee hike.

For students who have taken admissions in “absentia,” the fee has “doubled.” For others who have appeared for the entrance test, the fee has increased 12 times for humanities students and 17 times for science students. The students allege that the hike was effected arbitrarily.

For foreign students, there are two ways to be admitted: through entrance test/interview like the Indian students or through ‘absentia’ where students can send their documents with the required fee.

On condition of anonymity, an international student narrated, “In May-June this year, a draft document had leaked news about the increase in semester fees. A protest had erupted, and the administration denied any hike. But later, students were asked to pay the revised fee.”

A student alleged that “of the 41 Tibetan refugee students who cleared the entrance test, 39 of them opted out as they were not able to pay. Eleven students from Afghanistan cleared the entrance, but just two took admissions.”

A few students have decided to raise the matter with the varsity administration.

"The tuition fee before this semester used to be 100 dollars for foreign students who passed the entrance exam along with other Indian students. Only after clearing the examination, I got to know that I will also have to pay $1,200 like the students taking admissions through ‘in absentia’ category (which was 600 dollars before this semester). Coming from a neighbouring South Asian country it is quite tough to continue the study here paying 1,200 dollars,” said a student from a SAARC country.

JNU vice-chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar argued that the fee was lesser in the varsity compared with other countries and universities.

“The charges we are collecting from international students are very low compared with any other university,” said Kumar. The same students will be paying hundred time more than this to study in Europe or any other country. The fee was not revised for a long time. Is it not good for the university if the international students are paying a little bit higher? It will provide the university with resources to create better infrastructure. The foreign students pay $200 as annual fee at Delhi University. In Jamia Millia Islamia, the per annum fee is $600 for non-professional courses.

Nov./ Secy HRD suggests compromise, is removed

Written by Ritika Chopra, January 9, 2020: The Indian Express

Under pressure from protesting students and teachers to quit, JNU V-C M Jagadesh Kumar may well dig his heels in. For, barely a month ago, he had his way.

The Indian Express has reliably learned that Kumar was given an ultimatum on December 11 to either accept a compromise formula to end the standoff with agitating students or resign. In less than 48 hours, the then Higher Education Secretary R Subrahmanyam was himself shunted out.

According to the formula proposed by the Ministry, the JNU administration would charge only the increased room rent and the service and utility charges were to be borne by the University Grants Commission. In exchange, the students would call off their agitation and engage in dialogue with the university administration. To compensate for the lost academic period, JNU was asked to extend the semester by two weeks. The university was also advised to notify the students’ union and withdraw police complaints against students.

Following the ultimatum on December 11, Kumar is learned to have agreed to the compromise, but he backtracked a day later. Subrahmanyam was transferred on December 13 and was replaced by Information and Broadcasting Secretary Amit Khare.

Incidentally, Kumar met Khare Wednesday morning amidst calls for his resignation in the wake of the violence unleashed on campus by masked men this week.

When asked whether the government was considering Kumar’s removal to restore normalcy on campus, a Ministry official said, “No. The calls for his resignation only strengthen his position.”

In 2017, the HRD Ministry had nudged the then V-C of Banaras Hindu University, G C Tripathi, to go on leave as the students were up in arms against his alleged mishandling of protests by women students over an incident of alleged sexual harassment on campus.

Since Subrahmanyam’s transfer from the ministry, the JNU administration has rolled back the service and utility charges proposed in the hostel fee. However, none of the remaining points of the above compromise formula have been implemented.

When contacted, Subrahmanyam, who is now Secretary, Social Justice and Empowerment, declined to comment on the matter. Kumar did not respond to this reporter’s phone call and WhatsApp message.

At Wednesday’s meeting with Khare, Kumar was advised to initiate a media outreach and also a dialogue with teachers as the first step to restore “normalcy” in the university. “Instead of putting out press releases, he was advised to speak directly to the media. And if he feels the students are not listening to him, then he should try and talk to the teachers,” said a Ministry official on the condition of anonymity. “What happened on Sunday was not a law and order issue. We don’t expect such a situation in a central university.”

Kumar was also advised to extend the date of registration for the new semester, following which a week’s extension was announced Wednesday. “The violence which broke out on campus this week was partly because of the panic among students who want to register before the deadline and the disruption caused by the registration boycott by another section of students. We asked him not to rush the registration process,” the official said.

Students at JNU have been protesting since October 28 against the hike in hostel fee, especially the service charges for maintenance, mess workers, cook and sanitation and utility charges for power and water consumption. While the JNU administration is now only charging the increased room rent for the new semester, protesting students want a written assurance that the proposed utility and service charges will not be introduced in future. The administration hasn’t done so. The rent for a single room has been increased from Rs 20 per month to Rs 600 per month, and for a double-sharing room from Rs 10 per month to Rs 300 per month. Till date, 3300 students have registered for the new semester and agreed to pay the increased room rent. JNU has roughly 7,500 students.

Even as a section of students continued to boycott registration for the new semester (with increased room rent), masked men wielding sticks, rods and sledgehammers entered hostels and attacked students and teachers, leaving 36 injured. The JNU administration has linked the violence to the fee hike protests in their public statement and their report to the HRD Ministry.

2020: the agitation


TNN, January 7, 2020: The Times of India

NEW DELHI: Facing flak over their passive role outside the gates of JNU on Sunday when goons were on the rampage inside, and amidst allegations that those who attacked students had been allowed to get away, Delhi Police tried to do damage control on Monday. An FIR was filed and the police chief assigned the investigation to the crime branch. This was after Union home minister Amit Shah asked for a report.

On a day marked by expression of widespread outrage across the country and accounts by JNU students of the nightmare on Sunday when no one seemed to be safe, the police said they had received written permission from the university registrar to enter the main campus only at 7.45pm though they had reached the administrative block by 7 pm. The JNU administration had claimed in a statement earlier that the violence had broken around 4.30pm and they had "immediately" called the police. No one could explain this three-hour delay which virtually gave the goons a free run of the campus, leading to accusations of complicity and conspiracy.

PCR sources said about 50 SOS calls were received by the Delhi Police control room between 4pm and 5pm. The police reached the university and waited for permission even as the violence escalated. The scale was evident with students on Monday seen with bandaged heads, plastered legs and hands, broken fingers and blood-stained clothes. The condition of the men's wing at Sabarmati Hostel indicated the viciousness of the attack.

Police officials said they were treading with caution following the Jamia protests when they were accused of using excessive force on students and entering the university without permission. Many men from the junior constabulary said they were asked to avoid confrontation and wait for orders. This, however, didn't square up with their looking the other way when students, teachers, political functionaries and even reporters were being attacked outside the gate by a mob.

There was no explanation for the streetlights being switched off either. What's worse, armed goons were still moving around without being challenged by the cops.

Three hours of police inaction

TNN, January 7, 2020: The Times of India

The violence of 5 Jan 2020 at the JNU: a timeline
From: TNN, January 7, 2020: The Times of India

NEW DELHI: Delhi Police has launched a full-fledged investigation into WhatsApp groups that allegedly mobilised crowd at JNU. The cops are now analysing the call detail records and the centralised authorisation file IDs of the phone numbers visible in several screenshots, which came into social media circulation on Sunday evening.

A few groups — Friends of R S S, Left Terror down-down, Unity against Left, MA Sociology and Core Group — are at the centre of the row. Cops are contacting the members individually to verify their identity and antecedents. At the outset, it appeared that names of these groups were changed frequently.

2020, Jan: HC’s orders

January 25, 2020: The Times of India

NEW DELHI: The Delhi high court allowed students of Jawaharlal Nehru University who are yet to register for the ongoing winter semester to register as per the old hostel manual within a week. It also sought the varsity administration’s response to a plea of JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) challenging the decision to amend the hostel manual.

Justice Rajiv Shakdher directed that no late fee should be imposed on such students for late registration. The court said that for room allocation, the reserved category students shall be dealt with as per the old hostel manual — one that existed before October 28, 2019.

Senior Advocate Akhil Sibal, who appeared for the petitioners, argued that the administration took the decision without consulting any student, hence defeating the objective of the hostel manual including the views of all stakeholders whenever its provisions are changed.

The petitioners objected to the introduction of Below Poverty Line (BPL)/Economic Weaker Section (EWS) categories in the hostel manual, calling it irrational and arbitrary. They stated that there was no explanation about how such categories were to be made applicable or even identified when a “merit-cum-means scholarships” category already existed in the university.

They argued that the decision was contradictory to the March 2019 high court order acknowledging the importance of student representation in welfare committees.

Additional solicitor general Pinky Anand opposed the plea and submitted that 90% students had already registered as per the new hostel manual. To this, the court responded, “When you don’t have a choice, what do you do?”

The court then asked the university administration to engage in dialogue with the student representatives. It also said the “government cannot get out of education” because the salaries of the institution’s contractual workers had to be paid. “The government has to fund public education. The responsibility of paying salaries (of contractual workers) cannot be on students. Someone has to find the funds,” the HC remarked.

Anand submitted that the new manual was introduced as per communications from the UGC and the ministry for human resource development.

The petition slammed the Inter Hostel Administration’s move to amend the hostel manual and allow the fee hike while urging the court to restrain the JNU administration from imposing a late fee on students registering for the winter semester.

The petition, filed by JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh and other office-bearers, challenged the minutes of the IHA meeting and jurisdiction of the high-level committee that made the fee hike recommendations. The petition wanted the court to quash the amendments, saying the “minutes of the IHA meeting also stated that mess services, sanitation services, room charges, amongst others category of charges will be increased by 10% every academic year, i.e., from the monsoon semester”.

“Amendments to the hostel manual include an increase in hostel fee, and this affect the rights of those in reserved categories vis-a-vis allocation of hostel rooms and also reduces the representation of JNUSU in the IHA amongst several other changes,” the petition said.

The room rent for students, including those in the BPL category with junior research fellowship, senior research fellowship and other equivalent scholarships or fellowships, for single and double-seater rooms has been hiked to Rs 600 and Rs 300 per month, respectively. That for BPL students for double and single-seater rooms has been increased to Rs 150 and Rs 300 per month, the plea informs the court. Earlier there was no utility and service charge but now the university will charge BPL students Rs 500 and other students Rs 1,000 for the same.


Rock carvings

See Delhi: J for more about the 'mediaeval' rock carvings discovered in the JNU campus.



Mohammad Ibrar, JNU to revive convocation: Here’s why it stirred up a hornet’s nest 46 yrs ago, January 30, 2018: The Times of India

The Jawaharlal Nehru University is set to host its second convocation after an interval of 46 years. The university’s one and only such event — in 1972 — is best known for the controversy it stirred due to a “radical speech” given by the then students’ union president, V C Koshy.

The union had earlier refused to allow any “outsider” to give a speech on the campus, and had relented only when actor Balraj Sahni, known for his leaning towards the Left, was invited.

S C Garkoti, JNU rector-II, on Monday said the latest plan to revive the convocation was an effort towards “celebrating the positive aspects of the university”. He told TOI: “We will distribute awards to PhD students and send them off in a dignified manner.” The date for the event is yet to be finalised, but it is likely to take place in the last week of February. “We want to encourage students to have a proper send-off and not submit their PhD theses and disappear,” Garkoti said.

The university is yet to decide on who will give the convocation address. “Usually, it’s the visitor of the university — which, in our case, is the President of India. But if he’s not available, we will look for another senior personality,” he said.

Suneet Chopra, founding member of SFI at JNU, recalled the 1972 event: “Our plan was to launch a two-pronged attack on the administration. Initially, we had planned to oppose any outsider from speaking at the event. It was later when they suggested Sahni’s name that we agreed, as we had started a film festival on the campus that year and shown his films.”

Koshy’s speech, Chopra said, was vetted by the administration. “But we changed it (the speech) at night and decided to applaud specific portions. The idea was to get media attention,” he said.

Kamal Mitra Chenoy, professor of JNU’s Centre for Comparative Politics and Political Theory, was also a student back then. He said Koshy’s speech wasn’t controversial, “but for the media, words like calling the state a bourgeois landlord and criticising the capitalist class at a convocation was something new ”.

Indeed, it led to an outcry, prompting JNU to scrap the convocation programme itself — until now.

Chenoy also claimed that Sahni was “quite happy with (Koshy’s) speech.” During his own speech, Sahni questioned students’ “slavish mentality” even as he criticised “the same system of education that was designed by Macaulay and Co to breed clerks and mental slaves”. Sahni spoke of how a “large majority of students in universities are losing faith in the system of education”. The speech was considered by many, including Chenoy, to be “radical” for a convocation.

Interestingly, Koshy no longer stays in India. “He has been out of India for years and currently lives in New York,” Chenoy said.

Balraj Sahni’s address: excerpts

See graphic:

Balraj Sahni’s convocation address at JNU in 1972- excerpts


2017/ Entrance fees hiked, after 13 years, by 27%

After 13 yrs, JNU hikes entrance fees by 27%, Jan 23, 2017: The Times of India

JNU aspirants will now have to shell out more money to appear for the varsity's entrance examination as the fees for it have been increased by 27% from the upcoming academic session.

According to officials of the varsity's admission department, a decision in this regard was taken at a recent meeting of the academic council followed by the executive council.

However, the hike will not be applicable to candidates of reserved categories including SCST, physically disabled and Below Poverty Line.

“The fees for the entrance examination has been increa sed after 13 years. Prior to this, the fees structure was revised in 2003,“ an official said. “General Category , OBC students and applicants from abroad will also have to pay according to the new fees structure,“ he added.

Earlier, the application fees for BA programme was Rs 420, and for choosing one and additional programmes was Rs 630 and 800 respectively . Now, it has been hiked upto Rs 530, Rs 800 and Rs 1,000. Similarly , fees for MPhil, PhD, MTech, MSc, MCA and MA programmes, which were Rs 300 are now Rs 400.For additional disciplines, the candidates will have to pay Rs 575 and Rs 750 respectively.

2019: JNU does away with dress code, curfew timings

Nov 14, 2019: The Times of India

Key Highlights

JNU decided to partially roll back the hostel fee hike for students below the poverty line category.

There have been no changes in the hostel fee structure for BPL students who avail scholarships and for non-BPL students.

The varsity also removed the provisions for curfew timings and dress code from the hostel manual.

NEW DELHI: The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Wednesday decided to partially roll back the hostel fee hike "only for students below the poverty line category" and removed the provisions for curfew timings and dress code from the hostel manual.

But there have been no changes in the hostel fee structure for BPL students who avail scholarships and for non-BPL students, the varsity said.

The hostel fee hike, deadline for students to return to hostels and dress code were the major sticking points against which the university students had been protesting for 16 days. On Wednesday, their protest forced the JNU administration to shift a meeting of the Executive Council (EC), the highest decision-making body of the university, to a venue outside the campus.

The decisions, including to partially roll back the fee hike, were taken at the EC meeting.

After careful consideration, the EC decided to do away with a few clauses in the Draft Hostel Manual that had drawn the ire of the students, a varsity official said.

He said the eligibility to avail BPL benefits will be determined after submission of requisite certificate by the students and the varsity will be following the norms set by the government.

The draft hostel manual, which was approved by the Inter-Hall Administration Committee on October 28, had a clause which said, "The residents should be back in their respective hostels latest by 11.00 pm or by half an hour after time for library closing, whichever is later.

"Students who are found outside their respective hostel premises after the stipulated time and involving in any violence or otherwise disturbing the peace on campus and privacy of JNU community will be evicted from hostel forthwith apart from any other disciplinary action by the University."

This, it was decided at the EC meeting, will now not be part of the manual.

"All residents and guests should come to the dining hall appropriately dressed," the new manual had said. This too was done away with. To take care of students coming from weaker sections, the EC decided that all students belonging to the BPL category (excluding those who have Junior Research Fellowship, Senior Research Fellowship and other equivalent fellowships/scholarships either from outside organisations or JNU) are eligible to be given 50 per cent concession in the charges for rooms, utility charges and service charges, the varsity official said.

JRF scholars get Rs 31,000 per month and SRF scholars Rs 35,000 a month.

"In addition, it may be noted that all BPL category students receiving non-NET fellowship and merit-cum-means scholarships will also be eligible for this 50 per cent concession," the official said.

He added the changes will be effective from the 2020 academic session and those belonging to BPL category will have adequate time to produce certificate.

The One-Time (Refundable) Mess Security deposit for all categories of students has been rolled back and the fee now would be Rs. 5,500, instead of the proposed Rs. 12,000.

The rent for a single-seater room has been increased from Rs 20 per month to Rs 600 per month, while the rent for a double-seater room has been increased from Rs 10 to Rs 300 per month for non BPL students and those BPL students, who are availing fellowships and scholarships. However, for BPL students, the rent for a double-seater room will be Rs 150 per month and for a single-seater room, it will be Rs 300 per month.

The administration also made an appeal to all JNU students to get back to their classes, lab works, and research activities as major concessions have been given to students belonging to BPL category and removed the clauses related to dress and hostel timings from the hostel manual.

"Resuming academic work will protect the careers of thousands of students from any further harm," the varsity official said.

Explaining the change in the venue for the EC meeting, the university registrar said in a statement that the meeting was to be held at the Convention Centre but some students and JNU Teachers' Association office-bearers prevented the EC members from entering the building. "Some of the EC members, who were already inside the Convention Centre, were not allowed to come out. A crowd of students subsequently gheraoed three EC members who also happen to be the deans of different schools," he said.

The registrar said the details about the new venue was shared with all EC members, contrary to claims made earlier in the day, and most of them reached the venue.

He clarified that the JNU administration had received "several suggestions" from students when the draft manual was posted on JNU website for feedback.

The students' protest had gradually intensified against the manual, in which service charges of Rs 1,700 were introduced and the one-time mess security fee, which is refundable, had been hiked from Rs 5,500 to Rs 12,000.

On Monday, Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' had met students in the midst of blockade of the building by their colleagues where the minister had come to grace the third JNU Convocation.

Nishak had received a memorandum from the students and requested the JNU administration to look into the demands, the registrar said.


Highlights, as in 2018

See graphic:

Effects of fund crunch on JNU library

2018: library funds reduced from ₹8cr to ₹1.7cr

Mohammad Ibrar, JNU slashes library funds from ₹8cr to ₹1.7cr, research to be hit, November 22, 2018: The Times of India

Students And Teachers Oppose Move; Backers Want ‘Alternative Narrative’

JNU has cut down its library fund from Rs 8 crore to Rs 1.7 crore. This might result in Dr B R Ambedkar Central Library cancelling important journals and research material, which would hit students hard.

The library committee’s meeting on November 16 saw many faculty members oppose certain decisions, including fund cuts.

JNUSU said in a statement: “Due to the fund cut, the auto renewal of e-journals, e-subscriptions like Jstor, Sage and others are not going to be renewed, meaning closure of research in JNU from January.”

This was corroborated by Ghazala Jamil, law and governance professor and representative in the library committee. “The committee will be writing to the journals and databases asking them not to continue with with the subscriptions in from January as payment won’t be possible,” she said.

Jamil said the discontinuation of the journals and databases has been going on for some time and students and faculty members were asked to only specify the journals and databases they need.

“This was done after the committee did some assessment and found that there are a few journals that are not used so much. The committee then decided to discontinue these journals. But while doing research, students and even faculty members need information from multiple sources. There have been times when we have had to request fellow academicians from foreign universities for the data,” Jamil said.

Registrar Pramod Kumar told TOI that there is no fund cut as claimed. “JNU has only UGC as funding source. And we can do so much as the funds in our hands,” he said, adding that the university is looking at tying up with libraries of other universities to meet demands of students.

Some have also supported the cuts. Andrew M. Lynn, Dean of School of Computational and Integrative Science said, “It will be useful as it will allow an alternative narrative to gain hold—that library resources should be prioritised for alternative uses and not be used for toll-access subscription models practised by publishers.”

Parthasarathy Rocks

2019: out of bounds for students

Oct 20, 2019: The Times of India

Parthasarathy Rocks
From: Oct 20, 2019: The Times of India

A little distance away from the library at Jawaharlal Nehru University, lies the high point of the campus — a rocky outcrop called Parthasarathy Rocks, or PSR. Named after the first vice-chancellor of JNU, the place had been a favourite haunt of students for decades, among the first places one visited after joining JNU. The administration has now made PSR out of bounds for students.

The JNU students’ union held a night vigil on Friday, as a protest to reclaim their spaces. Even the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) have joined the protests. TNN

Step to check any untoward incident, claims JNU admin

According to the administration, the decision to put a lock on the gate leading to PSR was to prevent any untoward incident. In January this year, a research scholar of the university had died while trying to climb the rocks.

JNUSU said in a statement: “The area has always been accessible to all JNU students at all times. No untoward incident or any such occurrence has happened which could even remotely explain the rationale of such a move. Moreover, unlike its other draconian moves, the administration has not even cared to bring a circular to inform, let alone explain such a step.”

Kamal Mitra Chenoy, former professor at JNU, who was a student on the campus in the 1970s, remembers, “The rocks were synonymous with the culture of JNU where we could go and discuss, smoke, bring our tea flasks. It was an important part of JNU. There was an open-air auditorium adjacent to it as well where at times plays would happen.”

Chenoy alleged the attempt to shut the access was part of a “larger plan of the administration to curtail movement on the campus and to stifle students.”

R Mahalaxmi of JNU’s Centre for Historical Studies agrees. “PSR is one of the many open spaces in JNU, including its dhabas, canteens and even the roads. In those days when we were students, we used to roam around these areas frequently and openly. To put a curb on open spaces, seems to be part of a larger design to control physical movement and more particularly individual expression and intellectual freedom,” said Mahalaxmi.

She stated that a university is not only a place to have classes from Monday to Friday. “Students should be given their space like PSR where they can walk freely and sit and discuss, sing songs, hold hands.”

It’s not the first time the rocks have become a centre of contention; in 2009, too, students had protested against the decision of the university to allow filming at the area by charging a fee.

Sexual harassment and gender issues

2015: services of an assistant professor terminated

The Times of India Dec 22 2015

Jawaharlal Nehru University on Monday terminated services of an assistant professor after a varsity inquiry committee found him guilty in a case of alleged sexual harassment filed by a foreign scholar pursuing research under him.

The decision was taken at an emergent meeting of Jawaharlal Nehru University's Executive Council, the varsity's statutory decision making body .

The complainant was pursuing research under the professor's supervision.

“A research scholar, working under the supervision of the professor, had alleged that she was sexually abused by the professor.Subsequently , an inquiry was instituted by the Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH), the university watchdog for dealing with such issues,“ an official source said.

Sexual harassment complaints: 2015-16

At JNU, record sexual abuse plaints last yr, Oct 04 2016 : The Times of India

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) received 39 complaints of sexual harassment in the 2015-16 academic year, highest in the university's history.

Apart from a gradual increase in the number of complaints in recent years, the university has been at the centre of controversy recently with complaints and FIRs being lodged against JNU Students' Union (JNUSU) office bearers, including its president.

The report was submitted to the University Grants Commission (UGC) recently . In 2014-15, the university had received 26 sexual harassment complaints and in 2013-14, the number was 25.

According to the 2015-16 annual report of Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment, a central body which deals with complaints of this nature from all university departments, 42 complaints were received between January , 2015 and March, 2016.

2017: Internal Complaints replaces Gender Sensitisation; criticised

Mohammad Ibrar, Scrapping of JNU gender panel seen as regressive move by many, Sep 20, 2017: The Times of India

What JNU’s Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment was and what the Internal Complaints Committee is ; The Times of India, September 20, 2017

The replacement of the Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) with a UGC-ordained Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) is seen by a section of students and teachers as a regressive move that gives the university administration more control and results in a lack of transparency because of inadequate representation from various sections of society .

The university , however, says it was acting as per UGC guidelines when it issued a notification on Tuesday on the formation of an ICC with former chief proctor Vibha Tandon as chairperson. But many in the students' and teachers' associations say the move will reduce checks and balances in the ICC as there is no provision to check conflict of interest.

The GSCASH, seen as a model for several institutions in India and abroad, was set up after the Supreme Court laid down guidelines on the prevention and deterrence of sexual harassment at the workplace.

The body , comprising of 23 members elected and nominated from all sections, came into being in 1999. It has inquired into over 40 cases of harassment annually .

The committee also inquires into sexual harassment complaints. But with the ICC comprising only three elected student representatives and six teachers and officials nominated by the vice-chancellor, critics have raised concerns about its independence.

Several teachers have also rejected the claim that GSCASH violates UGC norms.Teachers said “Saksham gui delines“ on gender issues were based on GSCASH norms.

Economics professor Surajit Mazumdar, who along with at least six others dissented at the council meeting, raised concerns about the “hurry“ to replace GSCASH with the ICC “without prior consultation.“

The professor believes the ICC's composition gives the authorities much greater power and calls it regressive “as it makes it less secure to complain and hope for redressal in cases of sexual harassment“.

However JNU registrar Pramod Kumar said, the decision was taken in compliance with the UGC orders. “The ICC has been created after much deliberation and discussion covering all aspects... it is an evolved system,“ he said. Kumar also responded to allegations about the possibility of bias and high-handedness. “Earlier, elected members would be from particular organisations with their own political agendas. But with nominated members there will be an assurance of impartiality when dealing with sexual harassment cases,“ Kumar said.

Staff- / personnel-/ faculty- related issues


2017: 2nd chief proctor resigns within a year

Jan 25 2017, The Times of India

JNU chief proctor professor A P Dimri resigned on January 23 over alleged contentions with the vice-chancellor and other members of the university administration.

Dimri of the School of Environmental Sciences had investigated the assault on Najeeb Ahmed who has been missing since October 15.He had sent show-cause notices to four students, also members of ABVP . When contacted, Dimri confirmed his resignation but refused to spell out the reasons for it. Registrar Pramod Kumar, too, confirmed it and said Dimri “is one of the best academicians of our institutions and he may have resigned to focus more on his academic activities“. But sources close to Dimri said he was unhappy with the administration's behaviour. “He felt that the administration should introspect why the students have been continuously protesting ever since the VC was appointed. He believes JNU is known for a certain character and if the administration curbs the voices then the very character of the university would be jeopardi sed,“ said a source.

This is the second such instance of a chief proctor resigning at JNU in one year. Krishna Kumar had resigned as chief proctor after the February 9, 2016, controversy .

‘Overpayment’ to staff

…despite CAG objections, UGC rules

Manash Gohain, JNU ignored UGC rules, paid teacher in excess, February 7, 2018: The Times of India

The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) administration may find itself in a spot over violation of University Grants Commission’s regulations regarding financial matters.

The university not only failed to comply with UGC’s order of October 2017 (a copy of which is with TOI) in recovering overpayment to a teacher of Rs 20.88 lakh, but even after accepting the objections of Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) it sat on the matter till recovery became “time-barred”.

Sources said this could be just the tip of the iceberg as there are close to 100 cases, including that of a top JNU official, where past service has been counted for payments in violation of UGC regulations and the total overpayment could be worth several crores.

CAG, in its inspection report for the year 2014-15, pointed towards overpayment of Rs 16.51 lakh to a teacher as her past service had been counted and consequent promotion given to her in violation of UGC rules. TOI is in possession of these documents. “The university accepted the audit observation and stated that the promotion to the grade of assistant professor (senior scale) and associate professor granted to the faculty member were not in accordance with the UGC rules,” the CAG report states.

The report added, “Since the matter relates to undue financial benefit and overpayment to an employee from government funds, the matter is serious. The university should take immediate actions to (a) recover the excess payment of Rs 16.51 lakh… (b) the dates of promotion of these two scales may also be changed to the date of which the teacherbecame eligible as per UGC rules.”

The CAG audit revealed that not only was the overpayment of Rs 20.88 lakh not recovered, but the faculty member continued to be overpaid. The matter was also brought to the notice of K K Sharma, secretary (higher education), ministry of human resource development by M P Singh, director general of audit, central expenditure in June 2017.

The matter remained “unattended” by the JNU administration till the recovery became five years old and, hence, time-barred in terms of a Supreme Court’s judgment and DoPT’s office memorandum dated March 2, 2016. The five-year period of overpayment got over on May 29, 2017, following which JNU referred the matter (highlighted by CAG on May 10, 2016 and March 16, 2017) to UGC in September, 2017 (a copy of which is with TOI).

UGC, in its reply dated October 17, 2017, stated that “the matter was re-examined and found that the university has given promotion under CAS… by violating UGC regulations. UGC regulations on promotions are mandatory in nature. Any promotion in violation of these orders is irregular. You are, therefore, requested to immediately recover excess amount without any further delay and compliance report may be sent to UGC immediately.”

On receipt of UGC’s letter, the JNU vice-chancellor on November 7, 2017 issued a recovery order. But the executive council in its meeting on November 23, 2018 resolved “to authorise the VC to setup a committee to look into this case…” and “further resolved that the issue of recovery of arrears from… would be kept on hold till the receipt of response from CAG.”

Despite several calls and text messages with detailed queries on the matter to top officials of JNU administration, including the registrar, no response was received till filing of this report.

A highly placed source in the university said that “while the university left no stone unturned to rectify the UGC regulation’s violation in PhD and MPhil admissions leading to reduction in admission for the current year, the same administration didn’t act despite reminders received from CAG, UGC and MHRD asking for recovery.”

Storms in the JNU teacup

2017: Dhaba timings

JNU relents on dhaba timings, June 13, 2017: The Times of India

After JNUSU's `tea protest' against closing of dhabas on campus by 11pm, a Campus Development Committee (CDC) on Monday decided that the timings would be relaxed.

Students' union claimed that the administration, without any notification or circular, was sending guards at midnight and was asking the dhabas to shut down. This created a lot of trouble for students on campus who stay up late, they said.

However, JNU rector Chintamani Mahapatra said that there was no such `forceful' closure. “Dhabas were asked to respect the contract where they had promised to follow a schedule. There was an attempt to remind them of that.“

The meeting held decided that places like 247 near the Sabarmati dhaba could function till 1 am, while the dhabas serving tea and snacks could stay open till later at night.

“We demand that there should be regular CDC meetings on student's requests and hope that the decisions taken on Monday would not be struck down by the VC,“ students said.

2018: Students (and teachers) strike against compulsory attendance

March 20, 2018: The Times of India

JNU teachers split into two over attendance row

Group Of 40 Teachers Questions Students’ Stir Over Issue

TIMES NEWS NETWORK | IndiaTimes/ The Times of India

In Feb 2018, JNU Students went on strike against compulsory attendance

The row over compulsory attendance has split teachers at Jawaharlal Nehru University into two. Even as members of the JNU Teachers’ Association sat on a dharna against the “lack of dialogue” on the campus, another group of 40 “concerned teachers” came out “to clear the misinformation spread about recent incidents”.

While JNUTA members protested against the vice-chancellor’s accusation that they were “tacitly supporting” the students over the attendance issue, the group of 40 teachers was joined by the chief proctor in his “individual capacity”. The students’ strike, meanwhile, moved into the second week. JNUTA members the letters that they claimed to have written to the VC since February 12, requesting a meeting. “None of our pleas were answered,” Sudhheer Suthar, JNUTA secretary, claimed. He said it was only after JNUTA sent out invites to the media for a press conference on Monday did the administration invite them for talks.

On the issue of attendance that has sparked protests on the campus, a JNUTA member claimed that “much like other policy changes, the matter was never discussed or passed at the academic council meet”. JNUTA members also rejected the VC’s claims that the attendance issue was discussed and passed by a majority opinion of the academic council. They claimed that this “policy change” was one of the “examples in the last two years where AC proceedings have been circumvented”. Another teacher said that it was not about making attendance a must but the manner in which the rule was imposed that was questionable.

The other faction of teachers, however, countered these charges. They cited a 1970 ordinance that, they claimed, talked of “tracking attendance”. JNUTA members, in turn, claimed that attendance records were always maintained at the university and the new system was only substituting one that was already functioning well. “When UGC was thinking of evaluating semester attendance, it took the idea from JNU’s system,” JNUTA president Sonajharia Minz said.

The administration has rubbished allegations that compulsory attendance would victimise students, a view seconded by the other faction of teachers.

Many teachers had taken classes in the open in support of the protest

Axe falls on seven centre heads, dean

Mohammad Ibrar, JNU attendance axe falls on seven centre heads, dean, March 16, 2018: The Times of India

A professor of Persian will head the School of Arts and Aesthetics, a professor of Spanish will be at the helm in the Centre of French Studies, while an Arabic professor will similarly manage things at the Centre for Linguistics in Jawaharlal Nehru University. These faculty changes were effected on Thursday after seven centre chairpersons and one dean received letters late on Wednesday divesting them of responsibilities for “not complying with and implementing” the controversial compulsory attendance rule.

The order for the incumbents’ ouster, signed by A D Bahuguna, section officer (Academics), stated, “The Executive Council in its 272nd meeting held on March 13 … authorised the vice-chancellor to replace the existing deans of schools/ chairpersons of centres who have not complied with, or refused to, implement the attendance system in the university with the acting deans/chairpersons.”

The eight affected faculty members complained that they should have been first served show-cause notices. “I got a message from my colleague at 9.30pm about the orders mailed to him. I too checked

my mail and found I had been removed as dean of the arts and aesthetics school and replaced by professor Mazhar Ashraf from the Persian centre,” Kavita Singh told TOI.

Ashraf said the university administration sent him a mail on Thursday appointing the acting dean of the arts and aesthetics school. When asked about the students alleging he was not qualified for the post, Ashraf retorted, “The JNU Act lists the qualification required of someone who is a dean.”

Predictably, there was chaos on the campus on Thursday when students and teachers came out in large numbers against the orders. Students of the arts and aesthetics school blocked the entrance to their department, with one of them declaring, “This has happened because our dean supported us when we protested against the arbitrary implementation of compulsory attendance.”

Former JNUTA president Ayesha Kidwai was clear that “Ashraf’s appointment is against the rule” since “Rule 15 of the Academic Rules and Regulations to appoint an acting head of centres requires the sitting deans to be consulted”.

JNUTA has called a general body meeting on March 16 to chalk out its response to the order. Despite repeated attempts through phone calls and email, the JNU administration did not respond to the allegations.

2018: lockdown against compulsory attendance

JNUSU calls off lockdown after 23 days, April 10, 2018: The Times of India

The Jawaharlal Nehru University Student’s Union (JNUSU) called off its lockdown of five school and centre buildings after over 23 days.

While the union has pointed out that protests against compulsory attendance will continue in a ‘centralised manner’, the teacher’s union has started constructing outdoor class spaces for those still unwilling to enter the building.

The union resolution stated that in the council meeting on Sunday, it was unanimously decided academic activities should continue, as the student community across centres were deeply concerned regarding their scholarships, the upcoming end semester examinations, and submission of thesis and dissertations.

A research student had filed a petition in the high court alleging that he was unable to attend classes since February and his studies were getting affected.

In the meanwhile, the high court termed as “unfortunate and sad” that classes in JNU are being held on staircases due to an ongoing agitation. Justice Rekha Palli rued the joint stir by students and teachers and said the manner in which the students are being stopped is “very unfortunate.”

The court was hearing a plea by five professors of JNU challenging the December 12, 2017 decision of the varsity's Academic Council making 75% attendance mandatory for students.

2018 ‘Referendum’: 93% of teachers wanted VC to go

‘Referendum’ in JNU: 93% of teachers want VC to go, August 8, 2018: The Times of India

Over 93% of the JNU teachers who voted in a ‘referendum’ on Tuesday want the Jawaharlal Nehru University’s vice-chancellor, M Jagadesh Kumar, to go. At least 96% of the voters are also against taking a loan from Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA).

Out of the 586 faculty members, 300 took part in the exercise on the campus. While 279 teachers voted against the VC and his policies, eight supported him. Similarly, 288 voters opposed the loan while four backed it.

JNU Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) asked the teachers to vote on whether the VC should stay and if the HEFA loan should be taken for new engineering school hostels as JNU won’t be able to pay it back.

JNUTA invited external observers, including geographer MH Qureshi, scientist PK Yadava, economist Arun Kumar and writer Chaman Lal, all retired professors as well as ex-presidents of JNUTA.

According to JNUTA, the turnout was “surprising” despite “the general atmosphere of fear created by the administration” and heavy showers. It alleged that the university had been recently indulging in individual targeting. The ‘referendum’ is part of a series of protests by the teachers against the VC and his administration, “who, over the last two and a half years, have vitiated the academic environment of the campus”.

2019: A prolonged stir over ‘ethos’

Avijit Ghosh, Nov 17, 2019: The Times of India

In JNU, the walls always spoke. And the tongue was political. Arty, hand-painted posters screamed, Free Nelson Mandela, and quoted Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poetry. A generation of students came, and left. But the walls, sputtering words of resistance, remained a constant.

In recent months, however, the walls lost their voice. When students planned a protest in July, the JNU administration even issued a circular asking them to “strictly abide” by the provision of Delhi Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 2007, and the decision of a JNU executive council meeting in March 2018. The violators were liable for “action/penalty.”

The walls and doors of JNU’s administrative block found their voice again. Even the building’s interiors were reclaimed in an anarchic release of expression allegedly by agitating students. “Deewarein bol uthi hain (The walls have spoken again), said one graffiti. Another cheekily said, “Daag ache hain.” On a clock was written in bold red, Time4Revolution.

The outburst came after a fortnight-long stand-off between students and authorities on a proposed hike in hostel fees. Students calculate that the raise could cause an estimated Rs 3,000 or more jump in their monthly expenses. “About 40% students in 2017-18 had Rs 12,000 per month or less family income. The fee hike will hurt the disadvantaged students most,” says Satish Chandra Yadav, general secretary of the student’s union (JNUSU).

The authorities have since offered “a partial rollback” which has been rejected by JNUSU. But talking to students and teachers — and going through the interviews and statements of JNU VC M Jagadesh Kumar — one gathers that this is much more than a students’ protest for a better hostel deal. At the heart of the conflict lies the sharp divergence in the ideological and administrative vision of what JNU should be, with the VC on one side, and the students and teachers on the other.

Founded in 1969, JNU has always been Leftaligned, both academically and in student politics. But the campus culture has always been overwhelmingly liberal. Irreverence to state power and social norms has been at its political and cultural centre. Unlike other places in India, JNU’s politics was marked by a civility, except for occasional events like the turbulent 1983 student movement. Debates were always verbal and political exchanges conducted through cyclostyled pamphlets, available like condiments at breakfast and dinner. Elections, conducted by the students themselves, were fought between the CPM-backed SFI and the campus-based Free Thinkers.

In recent years, campus politics has turned more combative verbally, and the debates shriller. CPML’s student wing, AISA, has become a formidable force; while the Right has made substantial inroads with ABVP. The campus, nonetheless, retains a liberal spirit. Knowledge-acquisition in dhabas continue to be part of the unofficial curriculum. “Queers against Fascists” read one graffiti during the ongoing protest.

This then seems a larger battle for individual and cultural freedoms. Specific points of conflicts include sharply differing positions between administration and student/teachers on dress codes, hostel rules and dhaba timings.

In recent years, barring Ganga dhaba, all other eateries have been asked to down shutters by 11pm. Even 24x7, open all night, was asked to obey the diktat. During the ongoing protest, students restarted a “Guerrilla Dhaba” serving tea and coffee late into the night.

An official circular threatened students with “eviction” if they were not back in the rooms by 11pm. “It is as if the administration wants to keep every student indoors,” says NSUI’s Hrushikesh Behera. Part of the administration’s outreach has been to withdraw this provision. The hostel manual clause that required students to be ‘appropriately dressed’ in mess rooms was also removed. Yadav feels these were attempts at “moral policing”. D K Lobiyal, president of the university’s teacher association, JNUTA, says that the VC seems to believe that if you don’t dress or behave in a certain way, you are not a good citizen. In 2017, the VC asked the government to install tanks in the university to instill nationalism and patriotism among students. Questions sent to JNU VC and PRO received no reply till the time of filing of this report Surveillance cameras were installed in hostels in 2017. PhD student Shabnam Sircaik recalls an incident when a guard approached six students chatting on Lohit Lawns around 11pm. “He asked us to break up the gathering saying it was against the law. They want to discipline us,” she says.

Students TOI spoke to seemed wary of administrative action if they spoke up. Barring some office-bearers, several refused to be named for this report. Demonstrations are often video recorded. “A faculty member advised me, “Kuch bhi ho, camera mein mat aana (Whatever happens, don’t come in front of the camera),” says PhD student Shivani Ror.

Kumar took charge shortly before the controversial February 9, 2016 incident when anti-national slogans were shouted in the campus. A sedition case was filed against several students, including the then JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar, and the hashtag, ShutDownJNU, trended on Twitter. JNUSU feels the ongoing war dates back to that time. “The idea to defame JNU didn’t succeed. But there have been fragmented attacks ever since to change the university’s character of social justice and inclusion,” says Yadav.

The VC’s administrative initiatives include establishing schools of engineering, management and entrepreneurship. “The university derives its basic character from the social sciences. The VC wants to convert it into a professional courses university,” says Lobiyal.

JNU’s alumni currently includes two Cabinet ministers — foreign minister S Jaishankar, who post-graduated in political science, and finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who earned a master’s in economics. So did Abhijit Banerjee, 2019 Nobel Prize winner.

But despite that reputation, rancour rules. “If they continue to protest after these concessions, I believe that their motive is not this but something else,” Kumar told a TV channel. At Freedom Square, the ground zero of protests, JNUSU continues to agitate. With the semester heading for an end and no solution in sight, the confrontation is beginning to look like a duel on the Titanic.


Renaming roads after ideologues

March 18, 2020: The Times of India

Original sign of VD Savarkar Marg on JNU campus
From: March 18, 2020: The Times of India
Sign defaced to read BR Ambedkar Marg
From: March 18, 2020: The Times of India
Picture of Jinnah removed, black paint erased to show the BR Ambedkar Marg inscription again
From: March 18, 2020: The Times of India
Ambedkar’s name blacked out from the signboard and a picture of Muhammad Ali Jinnah pasted on it
From: March 18, 2020: The Times of India

Controversy never seems to leave Jawaharlal Nehru University alone. While students and university authorities are wrangling over the closure of hostels after suspension of classes due to the threat of the novel coronavirus, there is also an anachronistic war under way over signboards. After a lane was named after Hindutva stalwart V D Savarkar, the signboard was vandalised and the name of B R Ambedkar inscribed over it. But later, even that was the target of defacers, who blacked out the name and pasted a picture of Mohammad Ali Jinnah at the side.

The signboard was cleaned by the R S S-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, though the name of Ambedkar remained. The student organisation alleged that Jinnah’s picture was the handiwork of Left student groups, but said it didn’t know who had replaced Savarkar’s name with Ambedkar’s.

“The JNU administration took the decision last year to name the various roads on the campus. Therefore, the road near Subansir Hostel was named after Savarkar,” said ABVP JNU president Shivam Chaurasia. “However, the leftist students took midnight action to deface the road sign with the Mohammad Ali Jinnah poster.”

While condemning the act, Chaurasia also alluded to the left students painting graffiti on the walls of the administration block last year during the agitation against the hostel fee hike. Chaurasia, however, had no clue to who had inscribed the name of Ambedkar on the signboard.

It was JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh who, in a tweet at 1.11am on Tuesday, posted the image of the defaced signboard bearing Ambedkar’s name. Alongside she wrote, “We can never ever accept apologists and stooges of the British who undermined our secular fabric. Let’s respect those who gave us our Constitution.”

JNUSU itself denied involvement in the issue but declared, “JNU believes in the ideals of Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar, not Savarkar or Jinnah as ABVP does” and charged the saffron student organisation with “crossing all levels of shamelessness” and “maligning JNU by circulating morphed images of the road in the name of Jinnah”.

JNU Teachers’ Federation, breakaway faction of JNU Teachers’ Association, condemned the vandalism and accused the miscreants of trying to “vitiate the peaceful environment” and called for the immediate identification and punishment.

JNU vice-chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar explained that the naming of different roads on the campus had been approved by the Executive Council based on the recommendations of the campus development committee in 2016. “In the past two years, several roads have been named after great personalities,” Kumar said. “Last night some miscreants indulged in defacing the road signage. This is highly regrettable. In an educational institution, one can disagree intellectually but stooping to such acts is unwarranted.”

Chief Proctor Office manual/ 2023

Shreya Ghosh, Dec 14, 2023: The Times of India

Both Left and ABVP voice concern at JNU manual 
 New Delhi : The revised Chief Proctor Office manual at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has drawn criticism from both leftand right-wing student organisations, the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

The manual imposes penalties, including fines up to Rs 20,000 and rustication, for protests within a 100-metre radius of academic and administrative buildings. It also bans the printing, circulation or pasting of posters with ‘antinational’ remarks.

JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh was on December 1 fined Rs 10,000 for allegedly forcibly opening the locked door of the students’ union office on March 2 this year. Ghosh, an MPhil/PhD student of the university, accused the administration of using the fines as “a means of filling their pockets” at the expense of students.

Ghosh questioned the legitimacy of the revised manual, pointing out its approval took place in an executive committee meeting that lacked student representation. Moreover, she added, there was no discussion in the academic council on the matter. In a video message, she claimed the fines were being used to suppress dissent and discourage protests against injustice.

SFI’s JNU unit secretary Sagar Singal said the manual undermined the university’s tradition of fostering debates and was “designed to stifle student voices on campus”. Terming it a “crackdown on accountability and democratic engagement”, ABVP’s Umesh Ajmeera claimed the manual “aims to suppress student activism and democratic voices within the campus”.

ABVP national general secretary Yagyawalkya Shukla said, “JNU has issued a code of conduct which includes dictatorial rules. ABVP considers it a violation of the fundamental rights of students and an attempt to suppress their democratic voice for their constitutional demands.”

Earlier, VC Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit told TOI, “The manual aims to ensure students refrain from drinking, inciting violence or engaging in drug use. I haven’t imposed fines on student protests. They are free to protest in Sabarmati hostel area.”

Teacher: student ratio

2017/ Many Teachers Have More Students Than UGC Regulations 

Manash Gohain, PG scholars in JNU not evenly allotted, Feb 10 2017 : The Times of India

Assistant professors, associate professors and professors, MPhil, JNU as in February 2017; Manash Gohain, PG scholars in JNU not evenly allotted, Feb 10 2017 : The Times of India

Many Teachers Have More Students Than What UGC Regulations Permit

There are 89 professors in Jawaharlal Nehru University who are guiding 10 or more PhD candidates. Incredibly, 15 of them have 20 or more scholars under their wing. Not only is this against the University Grants Commission's stipulation of a professor guiding only eight doctorate students, but this is also highly skewed given that 191 other professors lead less than the mandated number.This was among the many glaring anomalies that the university revealed on Thursday to counter allegations that it was attempting to reduce the intake of research students. For some time now, students have been charging the JNU administration with trying to reduce the number of seats available for research.“The administration has finally made it clear that it is all out to close admissions to the MPhil PhD programmes. The number of intake for the upcoming admissions, which are in violation of the appro ved intake decided in the Academic Council and according to court orders, have been re leased,“ alleged Pratim Ghoshal, JNU student and member of Democratic Students Forum (DSF).

Countering this, university officials claimed that the intake had been altered “within the prescribed norms“ to avoid the imbalance in the allotment of research scholars to each teacher. “MPhil and PhD are research programmes, so UGC decides the number of students a faculty can guide,“ explained M Jagadesh Kumar, vice-chancellor.“The policy dates back to 2009. A professor can guide eight PhD students, associate professors, six, and assistant professors, four scholars. But in our university , some teacher guide over 20 PhD students, even as some do not have a single PhD student. This imbalance is not good for the quality of research.“

The university data showed 15 assistant professors -allowed one MPhil and four PhD candidates -were in charge of five or more MPhil scholars and 44 had “extra“ PhD scholars. Thirteen of them had 10 or more PhD candidates, with one teacher guiding 23 PhD students. Among associate professors, 17 were guides to more than 10 PhD candidates and 19 to five or more MPhil students. This, when 69 associate professors did not have the stipulated MPhil numbers under their wing and 95 did not have the quota of six PhD scholars.

Will this imbalance affect the number of seats in the university? The vice-chancellor denied any step to reduce seats, but said that for the time being only those teachers who have vacancies will be allowed to enrol students.

“If a professor has more than 25 scholars, they will continue and complete their PhD programme under his her guidance,“ said Kumar.But if another professor has two instead of eight students, then he she can take six students. We aim to encourage the faculty to fill up these vacancies.“

Untoward incidents

Note: JNU remains India’s finest seat of higher learning and research in the social sciences. Its campus is quite peaceful and safe. The incidents mentioned below represent less than 1 per cent of JNU’s students. Therefore, it is unfortunate that the first entries about JNU on Indpaedia are about the seamier side. Indpaedia is unlikely to start accepting articles directly from its readers before 2014 or 2015. Till then JNU alumni, students and others can send articles/ paragraphs about the positive side of JNU as messages to facebook

'Different’ JNU loses sheen/ 2013

Jnu rapes.jpg

Cases Of Ragging, MMS Scandals, Clashes Haunt Campus

Manash Pratim Gohain TNN

The Times of India 2013/08/01

New Delhi: It always prided itself on being ‘different’ but recent cases of ragging, alleged rape, MMS scandals and clashes with cops have dented Jawaharlal Nehru University’s image. The July 2013 incident has shocked everyone associated with the university, and many see it as a low point that calls for introspection and action.


July 2013: Student, a jilted lover, tries to murder girl and then commits suicide

Jun 3, 2013: An alumnus held on allegation of rape of a student in Narmada hostel

Jun 3, 2012: MMS scandal

Feb 11, 2011: Porn CD scandal; 2 students expelled

Nov 23, 2009: Students clash with cops after a student was allegedly molested by outsiders

Aug 13: First incident of ragging where an MCA student lodged a complaint and university officials caught seniors red-handed

Spurt in molestation, stalking cases in JNU/ 2011-13

Raj Shekhar TNN

The Times of India 2013/08/01

Police say, JNU campus is not a particularly safe place. What’s worrying is the recent upswing in cases of molestation and stalking. Some gun-runners had confessed to delivering country-made pistols near Delhi University and JNU campuses to people who looked like students.

Sources say crimes against woman are frequently reported from the campus now.

In June 2013, a JNU alumnus was arrested for allegedly molesting and trying to rape a 21-year-old student inside Narmada Hostel after a party.

In June 2013, an English literature student was allegedly molested by two students of her class inside Lohit Hostel. A case of molestation was registered at Vasant Kunj police station and two men, Rajiv Kumar and Gautam Vashishth, were arrested. Recently, a 57-year-old canteen incharge was also arrested.

A foreign student had also alleged molestation on the campus. The girl was friendly with the accused, a PhD student. On the day the alleged incident occurred, she had lunch with him in his room before he molested her.

In October 2013, a PhD scholar at JNU’s School of Languages was suspended after he allegedly molested a girl inside a university hostel. The Vasant Vihar police registered a case. “The victim was a history student at DU and claimed she was invited to the accused’s room in JNU’s Brahmaputra Hostel where she was locked up and molested,” a police source said.

In November 2011, a 35-year-old PhD scholar was arrested for allegedly molesting his 14-year-old domestic help. The girl, who was from Odisha, worked for and lived with Mohammed Azimuddin and his wife at JNU’s Mahanadi Hostel.

Student violence during AC meeting?/ 2016

PTI, PROBE SOUGHT - JNU teachers allege violence during council meeting Oct 11 2016

A section of JNU teachers has accused the students union members of resorting to violence while a discussion on introduction of courses in yoga and Indian culture was going on at the academic council meeting last week.

They also alleged that the union members had attacked a teacher, who did not wish to be identified, during the meeting. The students union, however, denied the allegations.

“They shouted intimidatory and belligerent slogans to threaten, destroy and kill the professor. They had gone so berserk and unbridled that they banged the (professor's) car with the intention to injure or physically abuse the faculty,“ the teachers said in a complaint to the vicechancellor. When JNU security personnel tried to make way for the teacher's car, the students lay on the road to stop the vehicle, they claimed.

The professor has also filed a police complaint at Vasant Kunj north police station.

The CCTV issue

JNUSU removes CCTV cameras/ 2017

Manash Gohain, JNU students remove CCTV cams in protest , April 1, 2017: The Times of India

`This Is Contempt Of Court’

JNUSU president Mohit Pandeyremoved the installed CCTV cameras at the Brahmaputra hostel and said the act was to “reject the move to put surveillance mechanism.“ The administration on the other hand claimed that this would be a contempt of court's order to install cameras at all important public places.

Pandey led a group of students to remove the cameras installed at the Brahmaputra hostel. “It's a privacy concern, which is why we won't allow this to happen. The cameras will increase surveillance and they are not required at places accessed by students. Cameras are already there at the administration block and the main gate. Also, the reasons given by the administration are false. In fact, the administration claims that the main gate CCTV was not working when Najeeb Ahmed disappeared.Why didn't the guards in the hostel record the assault on Ahmed in the register?“ The dean of students told TOI to contact the registrar who in turn didn't respond to the calls or the text messages. JNU sources said that the university is planning to install 45 cameras at a cost of Rs 70 lakh. These cameras are high-end equipment with facilities to zoom and of voice recording. These will be put up at the entrances and lobbies of the hostels and other public spaces on the campus.

Terming this as “bulldozing“, Pandey said the installation was undemocratic as the hostel association has not approved of the same. “The proposal has been rejected at various general body meetings and hostel meetings. If the administration wants a dialogue then why doesn't it hold a GBM to know what the students feel?“

2023: Provocative graffiti

Shreya Ghosh, Oct 2, 2023: The Times of India

NEW DELHI: Several walls on Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus were found defaced with messages of "Indian Occupied Kashmir," "Free Kashmir"and "Bhagwa Jalega" on Saturday night, the photos of which went viral on the social media.

Students claimed that the walls of School of Language, Literature and Cultural Studies-II were defaced with such slogans, but were later whitewashed.

The name plates of some professors were allegedly blackened too. Ink was allegedly smeared at some places.The walls of JNU have, many times, become a medium for political messages in the past. A few months ago, the walls of SL and SIS were painted with anti-Brahmin slogans, "there will be blood," etc.

The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) demanded an investigation into the latest incident. An ABVP statement said, "We would also like to inform you that some years back, Swami Vivekanand's statue was also painted with "bhagwa jalega" slogans. It is clear as daylight that such shameful incidents bring a bad name to our esteemed institution on the national level. We demand the installation of CCTV cameras on prominent JNU spots as soon as possible".

TOI's attempt to seek a response from the JNU administration didn't elicit any response.

Why JNU is so political

The Times of India, Mar 02 2016

Shreya Roychowdhury

Jawaharlal Nehru University was never going to be Delhi University. An unusual admission policy adopted soon after its establishment has ensured its very DNA is different. It also explains the diversity of its students’ union and why it makes nearly every struggle—Vemula, northeast, Kashmir, adivasis, dams and nuclear plants—its business. Students, teachers and even members of the administration agree that JNU ultimately owes much of its politics and its atmosphere, to “deprivation points” awarded to candidates from backward districts, women, transgender, Kashmiri migrants and those from defence backgrounds.

Census data is studied to draw up a list of districts according to literacy rates, percentage of non-agricultural workers, even “agricultural productivity per hectare”; these are divided into “quartiles” one and two with points assigned.

As AISA chief Sucheta De observes, in JNU, affirmative action begins even before reservation.

“There is representation of every part of India. And each group brings its own idea of the nation and nationalism,” observes V Lenin Kumar, former JNUSU president who was ousted from SFI for disagreeing with CPI(M)’s stand on Pranab Mukherjee’s candidature for presidency and Nandigram.

The 27% OBC reservation has also contributed to JNU’s uniqueness. Incidentally, the All India Backward Students’ Front, established to fight for implementation of this quota, also organised “Mahishasur Shahadat Divas”. According to the administration, women account for 57% of the student population on the campus.

There are 141 quartile-I districts—most backward—with the largest numbers in Bihar, Odisha and Chhattisgarh; and 144 in quartile-II. Some states, including Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Mizoram, have only Quartile II districts.

“You will find students from Kalahandi (Odisha) as well as from St Stephen’s,” says former JNUSU vice-president Anant Prakash. The present general secretary, Rama Naga, is from Kalahandi while president Kanhaiya Kumar hails from Bihar. “Over the years we’ve had supporters of Godse, Charu Majumdar, Naga separatists, Manipuri rebels and Assam’s ULFA,” says Anand Kumar who has studied and taught at JNU.

And the different groups have always found ways to settle their differences without writing, as AISF’s Aparajitha Raja puts it, “squealing letters” or ministers wading in.

Vice chancellors

M Jagadesh Kumar: 2016-

2016- Jan 2020

TNN, January 8, 2020: The Times of India

M Jagadesh Kumar’s first four years
From: TNN, January 8, 2020: The Times of India

NEW DELHI: Among staff and teachers at Jawaharlal Nehru University, M Jagadesh Kumar is gaining a reputation as the institution’s “most unpopular” vice-chancellor. Indeed ever since he took over in January 2016, he has got embroiled in one controversy after another. Some of his decisions are seen as reflective of a certain political ideology, but even those who assess him without such considerations assert that Kumar has shut every door of dialogue and debate on the campus, taken undemocratic decisions and administered the university on whims.

Not surprisingly, the JNU campus under Kumar is as polarised as the society outside it. Against those who want him urgently removed at university head, there also are teachers and students who admit he may “sometimes take unsustainable, hasty decisions” but believe he is only “a victim of a political agenda”.

Just a month into office, Kumar found the university wracked by the sedition case and accusations of anti-national activities. Eight months later, Najeeb Ahmed disappeared from the campus, creating another hullaballoo. Amid other simmering issues, such as a decrease in MPhil and PhD positions, proscribing protests near the administrative block and making class attendance mandatory, he provoked outrage by deciding the students’ union leadership elected in 2019 could not be notified. And then, the violence on the campus this past week was the fallout of his unwillingness to talk to students about their demand for a rollback of hiked hostel fees. Many have pinpointed the unpopularity of Kumar, a professor of electrical engineering, to his being averse to meeting and discussing problems with the stakeholders.

Sourabh Wade, a PhD scholar, cited occasions when Kumar proved “arrogant, probably because of the central government’s backing”. He said, “The vice-chancellor overlooked the Academic Council on issues like the fee hike and compulsory attendance. In fact, the Executive Council meeting discussing the hostel fee hike had to be held 18km outside the campus. The Inter Hall Administration meeting was convened with the hostel presidents being informed only 30 minutes before it. By the time, they reached the IHA, the new manual with hiked fees was signed. There is a series of such undemocratic decisions in the past four years.” Perhaps because of their own political affiliations and Kumar’s perceived closeness to the ruling regime at the Centre, the teachers aren’t happy, as indicated by the fulminations of professor D K Lobiyal, president of Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association. “He is arrogant, an egoist. He thinks he is the power centre and everybody else is inferior,” Lobiyal said. “He hardly engages in dialogue and whenever he does, he isn’t above insulting the participants.” He added that a university system had to run in collaboration with teachers and students, but under Kumar JNUTA wasn’t invited for deliberations and dialogues. Protests over various disagreements led the teachers to go on day’s strike on July 31 in 2018, but this drew stinging reprisal, with Kumar issuing notices to 48 of them. According to Lobiyal, in a JNU Teachers’ Association referendum on August 7 that year, only eight teachers thought he should continue as vice-chancellor while 279 teachers wanted him out.

However, there are some who think he is targeted for everything so he eventually “flees”. Hari Ram Mishra, professor in the School of Sanskrit and Indic Studies, said, “His unpopularity is an erroneous perception. When anti-national slogans were raised in the university soon after he joined as VC, he was very firm that the culprits should be punished. Only his being new meant he did not handle the situation in a better way. Political leaders of opposition parties joined the Left with the agenda to frustrate him by opposing his every move.” Mishra, however, agreed that Kumar took “hasty decisions” sometimes, like on the attendance issue or the hostel fee hike.

But even teachers with no political leanings find it hard to accept Kumar’s tenure, believing that he has disturbed the time-tested ways of the varsity by assuming full power and rendering the centres and schools dysfunctional.

“For 50 years, all academic decisions were taken the centres. Only if there was a problem would it be broached at the Board of Studies. Any problem being resolved out of the centre was a shame for us,” said a senior teacher in the Centre of French Studies. “All this changed in the past few years. There was, for example, the convention of appointing senior faculty as the dean, but now young colleagues too are appointed to that position. The whole JNU system got disturbed from the day this gentleman took over.”

Kumar’s actions are perceived through a political prism, so much so that when eminent historian Romila Thapar was asked, in September 2019, to submit her CV to allow the university to determine her continuance as professor emerita, it was immediately taken to be a fallout of Thapar being a strong critic of the Centre.

Yet even members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student organisation affiliated to R S S, the Hindu body that Kumar is often accused of being associated with, frequently criticise the VC. Radhakrishnan Yadav, said, “We in ABVP are vexed with him about many issues. His biggest problem is his reluctance to have a dialogue with students. This makes it difficult for us to approach him for help or to discuss campus-related issues.”

The torrid time the institution has seen on Kumar’s watch leads to easy comparisons. “I joined JNU in 2015 when the vice-chancellor was Sopory sir (professor S K Sopory),” said Wade. “There was a certain democratic culture then. To the pleasant surprise of the students, Sopory sir once even joined the protesters. In contrast, this new VC wants to run JNU as a technocratic institution.” 

2022: Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit

Swati Shinde Gole & Vishwas Kothari, February 8, 2022: The Times of India

Jawaharlal Nehru University got its first woman vice chancellor with the appointment of Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit, an ex-student and political science professor at Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU), on Monday. Pandit, 59, will have a tenure of five years.

Soon after Pandit was named, old tweets from an unverified Twitter handle in her name, criticising JNU students and farmers, were shared on social media. The account was deactivated soon after. 
Others pointed out that a one-member panel comprising a former HC judge had indicted Pandit in July 2009 for “misconduct and moral turpitude” in PIO quota admissions between 2002 and 2007 when she was director of SPPU’s In- ternational Students Center — following which the then VC ordered her increment to be withheld for five years.

Student activist Abhishek Haridas has filed an online grievance with PMO questioning Pandit’s appointment. “It is strange how a person with such a controversial past has been appointed to such an important post despite an indictment and punishment,” he said. Atul Bagul, a former executive council member of SPPU (University of Pune till 2014), whose complaint led to the inquiry, questioned her appointment at JNU “despite her past”.

Following Bagul’s complaint, the SPPU on April 30, 2008, had set up a four-member probe panel under then management council member Sunanda Pawar. This panel, in its August 2008 report, said there was “prima facie evidence of irregularities and financial misappropriation in PIO admissions” and recommended a departmental inquiry proceeding. Then SPPU vice chancellor Narendra Jadhav appointed former HC judge JA Patil as aone-man inquiry panel.

Pandit faced the inquiry on charges of not following AICTE and UGC rules while granting admission to 1,800- odd students and not seeking the university management council’s approval for the same. In its report submitted on July 17, 2009, the Patil panel indicted Pandit. On June 1, 2011, then VC Raghunath Shevgaonkar ordered that Pandit’s increments for five years be permanently withheld.

When contacted, Pandit, who resumed work with the SPPU department around six months ago after returning from long leave, told TOI that she would call back as she was busy with formalities related to taking charge at JNU.

She did not do so till the time of going to press. After taking charge as VC, Pandit issued a statement thanking “both the Prime Minister and minister of higher education for giving me this opportunity as the first woman and alumnus of this esteemed university from the state of Tamil Nadu”. She said she would strive to implement the National Education Policy and focus on “constructing Indo-centric narratives”. 
Bor n in Russia’s Saint Petersburg, Pandit did her graduation and post-graduation from Presidency College, Chennai. She completed her MPhil and PhD from JNU. In 1986, she topped MPhil with A grade (83.4%). Her PhD thesis was on “Parliament and Foreign Policy in India –The Nehru Years”.

Pandit began her teaching career in 1988 at Goa University where she taught international politics, political sociology, peace and conflict studies, and politics in Latin America, among others. She moved to Pune University in 1993 where she taught 14 papers, including India’s foreign policy, major thinkers in the West, world politics and politics of international economics, among others.

Pandit has been a member of UGC, the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR). In her academic career spanning over 30 years, she has guided around 29 PhDs and served as an external adviser to many universities across India.

See also

Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU)

Jawaharlal Nehru University: ‘sedition’ case, 2016

Personal tools