Concern in RS over JNU situation

6 Apr 2017

Opposition members in the Rajya Sabha today expressed concern over protests and a recent suicide by a student in Jawaharlal Nehru University, as the government said many of the agitations there had nothing to do with issues concerning the varsity. Replying to a query during the Question Hour, HRD minister Prakash Javadekar tabled details of strikes and protests in JNU on issues pertaining to the varsity and the others which had nothing to do with it. "Among the JNU protests, there are some on issues like harassment allegations in West Bengal, demolition of Babri Masjid, judgment in 'Nirbhaya' case, opposing US President Obama's India visit," said Javadekar reading out from a list he tabled in the Upper House. "I was also in student politics. But this too is a reality, you will see," the HRD minister told members. In his reply, Javadekar said among the major incidents of unrest, one was the programme on February 9, 2016 when "objectionable slogans" were raised. These included - 'Kashmir ki azadi tak jang rahegi', 'Hum kya mange azadi, bandook se lenge azadi, chheen ke lenge azadi,' 'Ek Afzal maroge, har ghar se Afzal nikalega' and 'Pakistan Zindabad', he said. CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury, a JNU alumnus, objected to the slogans that the minister had mentioned in his reply saying it had been said in the court that the videos of the incident had been "doctored". He said there was nothing wrong if during Obama's visit issues related to American imperialism were raised. Javadekar said he had only provided a list in response to a question. In the list provided by the minister, there were 51 protests relating to varsity-related issues, while 44 had nothing to do with it. Asked whether the government was considering curtailing the powers of the JNU VC, Javadekar said the government favoured increasing autonomy of educational bodies.During the discussion, Yechury said a UGC notification had drastically reduced the intake of research students, adding that JNU gave admissions to many backward students. To this, Javadekar said the UGC had laid a limit that a professor can guide 8, associate professor 6 and assistant professor 4. But in JNU, a professor guided 44 students while another guided 28, he said and asked "is PhD a classroom?" He said 104 teachers were guiding more than 10 students. There were 29 teachers guiding 20 to 30 students. There were four guiding more than 30 and one above 40 students, Javadekar said. "A Ph.D is not done like that," he added. (PTI)