[Via Rahul Sonpimple]
We, the nine suspended students of JNU spoke with the Press at the Press Club of India, on the issue of social justice. Below is the press release of all the events and the movement for social justice.
We the undersigned students of JNU wish to bring it to the public notice through media that the blatant violation of procedural norms and discriminatory witch-hunting of students belonging to marginalised and oppressed communities (SC/ST/OBC/Minorities) is being done by the Proctor's Office of the Jawaharlal Nehru University. The Proctor's Office has adopted the vindictive and arbitrary method of slapping students with suspension notices on false and trumped up charges.
Given the way JNU aministration has acted with utter disregard for democratic procedures of enquiries and fact-finding and served notices of academic suspension and Hostel facility being withdrawn overnight, it is clear that it is case of false framing and witch-hunt of students belonging to various deprived and oppressed communities who were peacefully demanding a more equitable and socially just admission process. Funnily enough, on the one hand the notices sent by the Proctor's Office accuse us of "disruption of the Academic Council (AC) meeting and resorting to physical violence on 26th Dec, 2016", on the other hand, according to the statement and press release issued by VC's office, the Academic Council meeting was conducted and successfully concluded on that date.
The statement released by VC's office after the AC meeting contradicts what we are accused of by Proctor's Office, i.e. "disrupting the AC meeting". How can we possibly disrupt the AC meeting if it was already successfully concluded? The falsity and baselessness of the charges against us is there for all to see. We had been peacefully demonstrating outside the venue of the AC meeting. Our main demand was that the upper limit of viva-voce marks should be brought down from 30% to 15%, in accordance with the recommendations of Prof. Abdul Nafey Committee (constituted by JNU Administration) which found rampant discrimination against students from marginalised background in the interview test for admission to MPhil/PhD in JNU.
We wanted the AC to discuss and implement the same. Even the Supreme Court of India has issued aguidline that the uper limit of viva voce marks cannot be more than 15 percentage of the entire marks. This was all the more urgent because, as has been testified by a number of faculty members in news and social media, the VC reportedly conducts these AC meetings in an unabashedly high-handed manner and we did not want the issue of viva-voce marks to go unaddressed. Despite repeated requests made by the students present there, the security officers at the gate denied us all possible routes of communication to the Academic Council.
The Security personnel refused even to deliver our memorandum to the AC meeting. Some of the security officers started pushing and shoving us. The top officials of the JNU security (G4S) and other security personnel manhandled us at the entrance of the Convention Centre. They (G4S Security of the JNU university) broke the latch/handle of the door themselves. The AC Meeting had already concluded before we peacefully entered. And we entered only when we found that the Auditorium gate is open. We were only raising slogans without resorting to any undemocratic means. We also emphasize that we did not indulge in any kind of "physical violence" as claimed by the Proctor's Office.
With Rohith Vemula of HCU fresh in our minds, the suspension notices to students from marginalized backgrounds who are earnestly striving for a University, for an education which is accessible to all, are a sad and cruel testimony of the injustices which plague our society. Even in the recent case of Najeeb Ahmed, a JNU student from a minority community, who was subjected to mob violence inside campus and then mysteriously disappeared, the Proctor's Office refused to take any disciplinary action against the culprits despite several depositions and eyewitness accounts of the violence that transpired on the night of 14th October, 2016.
The Vice-chancellor has invoked the Statute 32 (5) of the University to order our Academic suspension and Hostel facility with immediate effect. In Najeeb's case Vice Chancellor refused to take any action on the pertrator of group violence saying that without inquiry he can not take any action but in our case he took a decision overnight. The incident took place on 26th Dec 2016 and we were served the suspension notice on 27th December morning. We want to point out to your office that how Vice Chancellor himself is acting in dubious in dual manner and it indicates a serious inconsistency in the functioning of the Office he is holding.
We strongly demand that the JNU AC meeting be reconvened again and conducted in a fair and democratic manner, on or before 11th January, 2017, and implement the following:
1. Reduction of the Viva Voce marks from 30 to 10 marks.
2. Implement Professor Abdul Nafey Committee recommendations. Implement minority deprivation points.
3. Revoke fee hike in the admission process.
4. Immediate withdrawal of suspension orders slapped on 9 students from oppressed communities.
5. Implement SC, ST, OBC reservation in Faculty Post and Direct PhD.
~ Mritunjay Singh Yadav, Convenor - School of Life Sciences, JNUSU, Magare Bhupali Vitthal, Prashant Kumar, Shakeel Anjum, Deelip Kumar, Mulayam Singh, Dileep Kumar, Dawa Sherpa, Sonpimple Rahul Punaram.