We don’t feel secure: JNU Teachers’ Association tells HRD Ministry

AISHE, Ministry of Education, higher education enrolment
The Ministry of Education has been conducting All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) since 2011, covering all higher educational institutions located in the country. (Representational image)

Teachers don’t feel secure on the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus and the atmosphere is not conducive for academic activities, the JNU Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) told the HRD Ministry on Monday (January 13) while reiterating their demand for vice-chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar’s removal in connection with January 5 violence.

Meanwhile, the students and the teachers of the university boycotted classes on Monday amid the standoff with the administration over the fee hike issue. Classes were supposed to begin on Monday but could not start due to the collective boycott.

A five-member JNUTA delegation met the HRD ministry officials on Monday. “We do not feel secure on campus, and the atmosphere is not conducive for academic activities. Students who left campus after violence are scared to return. How can we resume teaching?” JNUTA president DK Lobiyal told the officials.

Also read | JNU administration asks teachers to resume classes

The teachers’ association has given a call for ‘non-cooperation’ in academic matters over a range of issues, including that of fee hike and the January 5 violence when a masked mob attacked students and teachers.

Prashant Kumar, a PhD student at the varsity, said the masters and graduation students have decided to boycott classes. “The vice-chancellor has written to various centres to frame the time-table but there has been no development. The classes did not start today but might begin in a day or two,” Kumar said.

A student from the School of Social Science, who did not wish to be named, said, “We first want the issues to be sorted. Only then can we focus on our studies. Just to start a fresh beginning, we cannot forget the past.”

A team of Delhi Police’s Crime branch officers questioned three students, including JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh, on Monday | PTI Photo

The campus saw violence on January 5 when a masked mob attacked students and teachers. The students’ union had earlier said it will ensure registration by paying only the tuition fees and not the increased hostel charges but kept the decision on hold after it found that the administration had blocked the registration portal for many students.

According to Professor Hari Ram Mishra of the School of Sanskrit and Indic Studies, some students attended classes but many of them are still not back in campus. “The classes should commence in a proper way in the next couple of days,” he said.

Another professor requesting anonymity, said, “The time-tables have not been prepared due to the ongoing situation. The teachers have been asked by the administration but the JNUTA has given a call for boycott.”

Meanwhile, a team of Delhi Police’s Crime branch officers visited the JNU campus on Monday and questioned three students, including JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh, in connection with the January 5 violence, officials said. Pankaj Mishra, Vasker Vijay Mech, and Ghosh were questioned by the crime branch’s officers, they said.

Also read | Delhi police omit critical aspects to pin down JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh

The three are among the nine suspects whose pictures were recently released by police following the January 5 violence. Ghosh is among the seven out of the total nine suspects, who are from Left-leaning student organisations, while two suspects are from the RSS-affiliated ABVP.

Besides Ghosh, Mishra, and Mech, Dolan Samanta, Priya Ranjan, Sucheta Talukdar and Chunchun Kumar (an alumnus) had been named as suspects by the police. Vikas Patel and Yogendra Bharadwaj, both from ABVP, are among the nine suspects in the case. According to the police, Akshat Awasthi and Rohit Shah, who featured in a sting operation conducted by a TV news channel, have also been served notices to join the investigation.

Police have also identified the masked woman, seen in the purported videos of the violence shared on social media, as Komal Sharma, who was wearing a check shirt, light blue scarf and carrying a stick. Sharma, who is a student of Daulat Ram College, has also been sent a notice to join the probe, the police said.

(With inputs from agencies)