Students, teachers allege heckling at JNU academic council meeting
A section of Jawaharlal Nehru University students and teachers alleged that they were “heckled” and their “written dissent” was rejected at the academic council meeting on Friday. The administration has denied the charges.delhi Updated: Jun 16, 2017 22:59 IST
A section of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students and teachers alleged that they were “heckled” and their “written dissent” was rejected at the academic council (AC) meeting on Friday. The administration has denied the charges.
The university conducted its 143rd AC meeting on Friday amid protest from students and teachers who said the meeting should be held only after summer vacations as most people are not on the campus at the moment.
The meeting was conducted to approve the minutes of the previous AC meeting in which a University Grants Commission 2016 gazette notification, changing the university’s admission policy, was passed, said an official.
JNU students’ union (JNUSU) released a set of video clips claiming to be from the meeting, in which some professors were seen arguing with each other.
“When the union’s representatives and other teachers pointed at the authoritarian style of the vice-chancellor (Jagadesh Kumar), they were physically chased and heckled by the administration,” JNUSU president Mohit Pandey said.
JNUSU alleged in a press release, “The faculty members, who are part of the AC namely Atul Johari and Ashwini Mahapatra, physically heckled JNUSU joint secretary Tabrez Hassan and held him by his collar. Similarly, other student representatives were also silenced by shouting and through various threats and intimidation tactics.”
Mahapatra, however, rejected the allegations and said he only tried to stop the students from “illegally” recording videos and taking pictures of the event.
“The students were video recording and taking photos which is unethical and illegal. If at all any recording is to be done then the administration should do it. The allegations of students are baseless. I tried to stop them from taking my pictures as they were taking it every time when I stood up to speak. The students were disrupting the meeting so we demanded the VC to take disciplinary action against them,” he said.
Johri could not be reached for a comment.
JNU teachers’ association (JNUTA) said most members present at the meet were not allowed to give their opinions on any agenda items and these were summarily announced as passed by the V-C.
“On matters related to admissions and selection committees, a discussion was prevented saying that the matters are sub judice and members’ objections that these items should not in that case be approved or acted upon rejected,” said JNUTA president Ayesha Kidwai.
However, officials said, “They are lying. When someone gives a dissent then it is noted in the minutes which will come in next meeting. The V-C repeatedly said during the meeting that the dissent will be noted as per established practice of the university,” said an official.
Meanwhile, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad condemned the JNUSU office-holders for their “violent and immoral behaviour displayed during the meeting”.