JNU students call off hunger strike, but not protest
A group of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students, who were on an indefinite hunger strike to protest the university’s new admission policy, called off their strike but said they would continue to protest. At the protest site, where scores of students had gathered since March 19 — they were later joined by teachers from different universities — at least 11 students had undertaken the hunger strike.
The announcement calling off the hunger strike was made during the National Convention of Universities, organised by the JNU Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) on the campus, “to point out the scandalous and destructive policies being pushed by the Central Government to destroy all public institutions”.
The students are protesting against what they termed the “exclusionary” online entrance exam system, mooted for carrying out admissions the coming academic year. The group also raised objections to delink MPhil and PhD programmes, scrapping of the BA second-year lateral entry, high fee for MBA course, and exclusion of poorer and marginalized communities.
While students said they have been trying to meet the V-C Jagadesh Kumar to discuss the issue, the V-C on Wednesday said, “Every month, the afternoon of first Monday is reserved for JNU students to meet me in my office without appointment. Students are notified of this regularly and several JNU students do meet me to discuss their issues.”
On Monday, a group of students had also marched to the V-C’s house to meet him and express their dissent. However, upon reaching his house, a scuffle reportedly broke out between them and the guards posted outside. The V-C took to Twitter later that evening and said a few hundred students had broke into his residence and confined his wife to the house for several hours.