Students’ clash: JNUSU demands probe by retired HC judge
New Delhi: Members of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union met vice-chancellor Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit on Wednesday and demanded that a panel headed by a retired High Court judge probe the clash between two groups of students on April 10.
The delegation, comprising six JNUSU members, met Pandit and were informed that a proctorial inquiry will be initiated in the matter.
At least 20 students were injured after clashes broke out between two groups on April 10 allegedly over serving of non-vegetarian food at the Kaveri Hostel mess.
After the meeting, JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh said the delegation strongly put forth their points and asked why the administration did not anything when the meat vendor was not allowed in Kaveri Hostel on the day of the clashes.
“We also said that through their statement, they supported one narrative,” she said.
Ghosh said the delegation also demanded that the vice chancellor should meet the injured students, something that she has not done so far.
“We have been told that a proctorial inquiry will be initiated and it will be open for all students, who wish to submit their testimonies and proofs,” she said.
Ghosh said the delegation also raised the issue of how women are being identified and threatened.
One such incident happened on Tuesday night when a woman was threatened at the reading room of the School of International Studies, she said.
“The VC instructed the Dean of Students to ensure that no student feels uncomfortable or threatened in any way,” she said.
In a memorandum submitted to Pandit, the union noted that the violence at the Kaveri Hostel has its beginnings in the arbitrary demand of prohibition of non-vegetarian meals at the hostel mess by a group of students, and said this it has been corroborated by the relevant hostel as well as mess committee members.
“However, the same students who raised this demand and violently disrupted the functioning of the mess and who are also associated with the ABVP, have resorted to spreading a narrative of disruption of ‘hawan’ in the hostel premises, a claim that is neither supported by the hostel or mess committee,” JNUSU said in their memorandum.
The Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) had earlier said the puja organised on Ram Navami started at 5 PM and simultaneously, Iftar was also taking place.
However, the JNUSU said, “The Iftar was held at 6.45 pm and not 5 PM.”
The JNUSU, in the memorandum, also asked the university to withdraw its statement issued on April 11 in which it said the clashes broke out after some students objected to a ‘hawan’ conducted “peacefully” on Ram Navami, an assertion also made by the RSS-affiliated ABVP.
The students’ union further said such partisan support of a single narrative is unbecoming of a university administration and that the press statement released by the JNU administration on April 11 must be rescinded forthwith.
“However, it is with extreme regret that we must note that the actions of the JNU administration have either fallen short of expectations of the student community or been partisan in nature,” they said.
The students’ body demanded that the JNU administration take swift action on the issue and take a view in a “free and fair manner”.
In the memorandum, the union demanded that the JNU administration either conducts a judicial inquiry or constitute a committee with a serving or retired judge of the High Court as the chair to investigate the matter.
“The committee should give a call to collect all testimonies and evidence, meet with the aggrieved parties, and release the report and recommendations to the public in a time-bound manner.
“It has been increasingly observed that the prevalence of politically-motivated violence in the campus is becoming a norm rather than the exception,” the JNUSU memorandum noted.
The union said for the campus to maintain its peace, the JNU administration must be prepared to take action according to the rules and ordinances of the university.