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JNU teachers divided over students’ stir

JNU protests Updated: Feb 17, 2016 01:29 IST
HT Correspondent
Jawaharlal Nehru University

Members of JNUTA at the JNU campus in New Delhi. While one section observed a strike on Tuesday, another (Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)

Teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) are divided in their support to students’ agitation. While one section observed a strike on Tuesday, another continued to take classes.

Ever since the arrest of JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar, the students have been protesting to demand his release and have said they will not go to classrooms till he is released.

Backing their demand around 300 teachers met the vice-chancellor on Tuesday and urged him to withdraw permission to allow police to conduct indiscriminate search and arrest on campus.

“The V-C should withdraw the permission he has given to Delhi Police for indiscriminate search and arrest in the campus,” said Ajay Patnaik, president JNU teachers’ association.

JNUTA has also demanded that eight students, who have been debarred from all academic activities till university inquiry is complete, should be allowed to join studies. “In our governing body meeting it was decided to demand that the order to debar eight students from academic activities should be cancelled,” said a member of JNUTA.

President of JNUTA Ajay Patnaik (R) with secretary of the association Vikramaditya during a press conference at JNU campus in New Delhi on Sunday. (Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)

JNUTA said the enquiry committee should be reconstituted and expanded. “We want the administration to include more people from different schools and backgrounds,” said Patnaik.

However, another section of teachers said they conducted classes and will not participate in the strike called by JNUTA. This group said they have support of a large section of teachers. “There is an impression that all teachers are supporting the agitation by students. Not all teachers are part of it. Classes are being conducted in Sanskrit department and science schools. The administration has taken the right steps,” said Ameeta Singh, who teaches at centre for law and governance.

Teachers said action should be taken against those guilty of shouting anti-national slogans. “Those who shouted anti-national slogans should be punished,” said Hari Ram Mishra, who teaches at Centre for Sanskrit Studies.

While the students have decided to continue with their indefinite strike till Kumar is released and sedition charges against him are dropped, JNUTA said it will resume classes from Wednesday but continue to support the students’ agitation.