JNU president’s visit sparks another row between Panjab University and student bodies
Left-leaning student groups and the Panjab University administration are at loggerheads again. This time, it is over the visit of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) president N Sai Balaji.
All India Students Association (AISA) and Students Federation of India (SFI) have invited Balaji for a lecture on Saturday. They wanted to book the evening studies department auditorium at PU for free. However, after the authorities kept dilly-dallying for three days, the students booked Kisan Bhawan in Sector 35 for the event.
PU Campus Students Council (PUCSC) president Kanupriya and AISA leader Vijay Kumar (of Punjabi department) had gone to the dean students’ welfare (DSW) Emanual Nahar on September 25. While Kumar said that DSW said that he cannot give the permission, the latter refuted it.
Next day the leaders submitted an application to the DSW, who forwarded it to the chairperson of department of evening studies, Gurpal Singh, as the auditorium comes under him. The DSW confirmed the same.
“The auditorium cost is Rs 7,500 for university functions and Rs 15,000 for outsiders. It can be waived only by the vice-chancellor (V-C). I told them that the letter should have been forwarded to the V-C,” said Singh. The letter was sent again to the DSW, who forwarded it to the V-C on Thursday morning, said Kumar.
‘Everything was mentioned in letter’
“As V-C is on leave, it went to the dean of university instruction (DUI) Shankarji Jha. I was told that I could take it the next morning. After a while, the letter was sent back to the student council office, asking for the programme schedule. Everything was mentioned in the application. Do we print invites first without the certainty of the venue?” said Kumar.
Jha expressed ignorance on the matter. The letter has diary No. 3,445 given on September 27 in the V-C office.
On Friday, the letter was again submitted to the V-C office with details of the programme, but the organisers were told that the V-C alone could give permission, and he was away to Delhi.
Kumar said: “We were told that the DUI had the authority to give us permission in the absence of the V-C, but he told us that the V-C alone could give us this waiver. We were also told that the DSW had just forwarded the letter and not made a recommendation, after which the letter was again returned to us.”
Balaji who won under ‘Left Unity’ and is a leader of AISA will speak on ‘Fascist Attack on Institutions and the JNU Model of Resistance’.