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JNU: 5th day of hunger strike, one student Hospitalised

JNU: 5th day of hunger strike, one student Hospitalised
Picture Credit: SCROLL.IN

Out of the 11 students from JNU sitting on a hunger strike, one was admitted to a hospital. The health condition of other students is also said to be deteriorating but it has not managed to affect JNU’s Vice-Chancellor M Jagdeesh Kumar.

11 JNU students have been sitting on an indefinite hunger strike since March 19 to protest against the dictatorial practices of their VC.

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They have been demanding that the prospectus issued on March 15 be revoked immediately and their VC be removed. JNU Teachers’ Association in an act of showing solidarity with the students called for a one-day strike on March 20.

“The JNU Act mandates that the University administration must ensure and protect voices and spaces of dissent, free expression and critical thinking. But time and again, the JNU administration under the current VC has proven that its only agenda is to destroy teaching and learning in JNU which is based on the culture of equality, openness, dialogue and democracy,” they said in a statement.

The students have been fighting against the 2019-20 prospectus which has an exclusionary online entrance exam. The CBT online examination was imposed on all courses even after concerns were raised by both the JNU Students’ Union and JNUTA with respect to its accessibility and pedagogical limits. Aishe Ghosh, Convener for School of International Studies, who is also sitting on the hunger strike said,

“There are places where the students don’t use computers till 12th and they don’t have access to the internet or computes. The computer-based system will exclude students from the poorer sections of the country from even applying to JNU. Students from marginalized backgrounds are systematically being pushed out from this university by the VC.”

Sarika Chaudhary, Vice President of JNUSU who is also sitting on hunger strike added,

“Being a publicly funded institution, JNU should be accessible to all students from all social and economic backgrounds. Education should be a right for everyone, not a commodity.”

Other issues raised by the JNUSU include delinking the integrated MPhil-PhD programme without deliberation or discussion in the Academic Council meeting; a decision to do away with BA 2nd year admission; repeated violation of reservations over the last 2 years; illegal keeping out of elected JNUSU from successive Academic Council meetings among others.

It has also been alleged by the JNUSU that an exorbitant amount of fees is being charged from students taking admission in MBA programmes and Engineering courses even though neither a building nor a sufficient number of faculty is available for these schools.

“We are demanding that the draconian prospectus released by the VC be taken back immediately. This is a consolidated movement against the anti-student policies of the VC,” said Aejaz Ahmed, General Secretary of JNUSU.

The protesters, however, have received no response from JNU administration even after 5 days of their indefinite hunger strike. The administration is maintaining that the new admission process is running smoothly wherein new programmes have been introduced and that it would make JNU one of the best universities.

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