As the cops attacked the students who were marching towards the Rashtrapati Bhawan to articulate their grievances, and the administration has announced the dates of end semester examinations, the crisis has further been intensified. Under these circumstances, what role will the teachers play?
Jawaharlal Nehru University is in turmoil. While the students are agitating against the new hostel manual and the proposed fee hike, the JNUTA too has expressed its anguish over the way the administration, far from establishing a dialogue with the students and teachers for resolving the crisis, is continually threatening the student community through a series of circulars. Even though the administration has instructed the Deans and Chairpersons to finalize the dates of the end semester examinatins to be conducted from December 12, the JNUSU has decided to boycott the examination unless all the demands of the students are fulfilled. Amid this broken communication, the students were once again injured as the cops brutally lathi-charged while they were marching towards the Rashtrapati Bhawan to articulate their grievances.
This week, as a senior professor said, would be crucial. As many centres have already announced the end semester schedule, it poses a serious moral dilemma before the teaching community. While, to quote an insider, the teachers are divided on this issue, the JNUTA in an urgent GBM (held on December 6) passed a resolution. As it states, the attempt to conduct the end semester examination–particularly, at a time when the students are agitating, and with a high degree of unity fighting for saving a pubic university, and when classes have not been held for more than a month– is ‘unacceptable to the teachers, and they cannot take part in this mockery.’
However, in a circular issued on December 7, the Registrar has conveyed a tough message to the university community. It states:
It is deplorable that the agitators have threatened the innocent students. The JNU Administration has made necessary arrangements for smooth conduct of the end semester examinations. In the wake of threat to law and order, police assistance may also be sought.
There seems to be no easy solution to the crisis. As all the channels of communication have stopped, the administration continues to issue all sorts of threatening circulars, and the students are detained and attacked by the cops, the prevailing environment at the university cannot be said to be conducive to the cultivation of a proper academic milieu for conducting the end semester examination
However, the question remains: Will the students be able to bear this pressure as the administration is causing fear regarding their careers and academic prospects, and trying to divide them? Or for that matter, will it be possible for the teachers to remain united, and cooperate with the students at this crucial juncture of their struggle, and not to take part in what the JNUTA regards as the ‘mockery’ ? ‘Nothing’, as yet another senior professor told this correspondent, ‘is certian at this moment’.
Meanwhile, in an open letter to the Visitor of the university (the honourable President of India) the JNUTA has appealed to him to act to resolve the continuing crisis in JNU by removing Professor M. Jagadesh Kumar from the office of the Vice Chancellor.