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Oppn seeks discussion in RS over JNU row; students to brief media at 4 pm

A day after hundreds of striking students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) were detained by police following a face-off with the forces while heading towards the Parliament demanding a rollback of hostel fees, the students have decided to continue with the strike on Tuesday (November 19). 

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Opposition leaders on Tuesday (November 19) met Rajya Sabha Chairman, Venkaiah Naidu seeking discussion on the protest by students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) against a draft hostel manual.

The Opposition will continue to raise the issue in the Rajya Sabha once it commences at 2 pm.

The CPI has given a notice in the Rajya Sabha in this regard. Reports say the JNU students’ union will brief the media at 4 pm on Tuesday. Even as Section 144 was imposed in and around the JNU campus, in view of another round of protests on Tuesday, reports says the Delhi police is mulling to file an FIR against the protesters.

Although students’ union leaders met joint secretary of the Human Resource Development Ministry GC Hosur after the protests, to arrive at a possible solution, the reports of the meeting are yet to be revealed.

On Monday, scores of students, took to the streets in protest against a draft hostel manual, resulting in a student-police face-off that led to the detention of about 100 protesters, including JNU students’ union (JNUSU) president Aishe Ghosh.

The students, who were from across party lines, were protesting on Monday after the administration agreed to a partial rollback of the hike, which the teachers’ association (JNUTA) and the JNUSU termed an eyewash. The protesters were stopped from marching further on the Baba Ganganath Marg.

Also read | JNU protest intensifies; HRD minister meets students’ union president

“Some students have been detained and split up. Some have been taken to Badarpur, some to Dilli Cantt, some to Kalkaji. But we are still united against the force of injustice (sic),” the JNUSU said in a tweet on Monday. The students have been beaten up by the police, protesters alleged.

“There is a medical emergency in the bus I am in. Students are being treated badly. The police is denying medical help. Please spread the word. We need urgent help,” JNUSU president Ghosh appealed in a message.

In a video, another detained student was seen alleging the same.

The JNUTA in a statement condemned the police action on students and said, “In the process of preventing the students from exercising their democratic right to march to Parliament, the Police inflicted severe violence on students on several occasions.”

Meanwhile, the HRD Ministry on Monday appointed a three-member committee to recommend ways to restore normal functioning of the JNU. The JNUTA said that it see the “constitution of this committee as a clear acknowledgement by even the MHRD that the JNU administration led by the Vice Chancellor is incapable of running this University. It would only be fitting therefore if the VC steps down from his position immediately.”

Also read | JNU seethes in protest over hostel fee hike, CRPF in campus

In the statement, the teachers’ associated also demanded the resignation of the vice-chancellor and called for a protest at 4 pm on Tuesday, against the police brutality.

Meanwhile, JNUSU office-bearers claimed that they met a senior HRD Ministry official over the hostel fee hike and submitted a memorandum of demands, including for sacking the vice-chancellor. However, there was no official word from the ministry on the meeting.

Former Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat condemned the police action on the protesting students and said this won’t repress their morale.

“The police were used by the central government to repress the voice of the students. They were protesting against the atrocious fee hike. We condemn this. It is a long-standing tradition of the JNU to protest for free education and their morale cannot be repressed by police action,” he told The Federal.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury too condemned the police action on protesting students, saying it was not the right way to deal with democratic protests. “This is Modi’s emergency. The number of police personnel present at the spot of the protest is higher than what we saw during emergency,” Yechury said.

Also read | JNU files complaint over vandalism at administration block

JNU students baton charged by police during a protest march towards Parliament | PTI Photo

The national capital witnessed traffic disruptions as thousands of students raised slogans and marched to bring the issue to the attention of the Parliament. In a tweet, the Delhi Traffic Police said that Nelson Mandela Road was closed for movement from Munirka outer ring road to Priya light. Entry and exit points to metro Delhi Metro stations near Parliament were also shut down temporarily.

“As advised by Delhi Police, trains are not halting at Udyog Bhawan and Patel Chowk. Exit/Entry Gates for Udyog Bhawan, Patel Chowk and Central Secretariat have been closed temporarily. Trains are not halting at Lok Kalyan Marg and entry/exit gates of the station have also been closed temporarily,” Delhi Metro said in an advisory.

Police said that 10 companies, that is about 800 police personnel, have been deployed in view of the protests. Besides, paramilitary forces were also deployed outside the Parliament. The students have protesting for nearly three weeks against the draft hostel manual, which has provisions for hostel fee hike, dress code and curfew timings.

Also read | JNU administration skips crucial meet, changes venue 18 kms from varsity

Meanwhile, the JNU Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) replied to vice-chancellor Jagadesh Kumar’s appeal for “cooperation in maintaining a peaceful academic atmosphere in JNU campus”, saying that the association disagrees with the administration’s view that the changes in hostel charges are “reasonable and necessary”.

“Retraction of that decision and taking the matter back to the process of deliberation and discussion in the relevant bodies like the IHA and the Academic Council, and with due representation to the students and their representative in the process, is the least that is necessary for normalcy to return to the campus. The onus of taking that step rests on the JNU Administration,” it said while blaming the administration’s decision to hike the fees for being the “root cause of the present crisis”.

(With inputs from agencies)

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