Don’t address students at prohibited campus areas: JNU to prof Prabhat Patnaik
JNU students’ union had on August 4 organised a pubic talk Patnaik along with former JNU professors Harbans Mukhia, and Chaman Lal, and a journalist addressed the students.delhi Updated: Aug 12, 2017 08:37 IST
Economist Prabhat Patnaik, who is an emeritus professor with Jawaharlal Nehru University, has been asked by the university not to address students at prohibited areas on the campus.
Patnaik, who began teaching at the university in 1974 when it just a few years old, was sent a letter by the registrar on Thursday telling him it was “unfortunate” that he did not “care to respect the rules of the university”.
“It is expected from you that such violation of rules is not repeated in the future,” the letter from registrar Pramod Kumar said.
JNU students’ union had on August 4 organised a pubic talk on “The idea of a university: democracy, resistance, and future challenges” where Patnaik along with former JNU professors Harbans Mukhia, and Chaman Lal, and a journalist addressed the students.
The spot has become a bone of contention between the administration and a section of teachers and students. The area around the Administrative Block has popularly come to be known as “Freedom Square” since February 2016, when protests broke out in the university following arrest of some students in an alleged sedition case.
The administration had on August 3 asked Patnaik not to address meetings in the vicinity of Administrative Block, which is a prohibited area for holding such activity.
Patnaik had replied to the letter by saying that he did not know where the meeting was being held. “But if it is being held at some venue where it should not be held, then that is a matter for you to take up with the students and not with me,” he said.
In the past, the university has served notices to students and teachers over protests at the spot. The vice-chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar had banned protests and sit-ins at the spot, citing a university rule that prohibits such activities within 20 metres of the building.
The students’ union president Mohit Pandey said that they held the talk away from the administration building and did not violate any rule. “We held the talk near the Nehru statue, which is more than 20 meters away from the administration building,” he said.
Patnaik said the registrar’s letter, which demands obedience, is clearly based on a misconception.
“I wrote back to the university reminding them that I am not a salaried employee of the university but only a professor emeritus. My relationship with the university authorities of any particular time are governed by mutual courtesy, and not be obedience to these authorities,” he said.