Members of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) continued with their indefinite hunger strike on Saturday, a day after the varsity’s steering committee said it was going back to its old rules for admission for MPhil and PhD programmes.
Members of JNUSU, on the fifth day of their hunger strike on Saturday, claimed that the change in admission rules was released as a press note without proper deliberation and approval by members, as per protocol.
They added that they will continue to fight the UGC gazette notification that proposed seat cuts and gave 100% weightage to viva voce under a new set of admission rules.
On Saturday, the JNUSU president Mohit K Pandey and general secretary Satarupa Chakraborty said that the students’ body also concerned about the fact that the new admission guidelines do not mention anything about the relaxation of 50% in entrance exams for people who are eligible for reserved quotas.
“We will hold a referendum on February 7, Tuesday, to see if majority of the students also oppose the UGC gazette notifications. Based on the results on the referendum, we may call for the resignation of the vice chancellor, who has been apathetic to student’s demands,” Pandey said.
The students also alleged that they had been misinterpreted and misrepresented. For one they claim that it was not just students who had opposed the seat cuts, as mentioned in the earlier press release, but also several faculty members.
“Seats were increased based on constitutional mandates and Supreme Court directives. Any seat cuts will then be a violation of the top court’s ruling,” said Pandey, adding that these were just veiled attempts at cutting inclusive provisions of the JNU admission policy.
The agitators claimed that they never agreed to a three tier entrance exam, which states that students would need to score 50% marks in the initial written test to qualify, without any mention of the relaxations for reserved categories.
“The major problem with the current admission recommendations is that they are trying to implement a ‘one size fits all’ criteria. This is a big threat to the university’s autonomy and the diversity on campus,” the students claimed.