Ground Report: Negotiations On, As Umar Khalid And 4 Others Return To JNU After 10 Days

Posted on February 22, 2016 in Campus Watch, Stories by YKA

By Abhimanyu Singh for Youth Ki Awaaz:

In a clear change in strategy, after last night’s dramatic reappearance of the five absconding students, negotiations between the JNU administration, which include the Vice-Chancellor, and the JNU Teachers Association (JNUTA), and JNU Students Union (JNUSU) continued well into the afternoon on Monday, 22nd Feb.

The five students are Rama Naga, an office-bearer in the current student’s union, Anant and Ashutosh, office-bearers from the last union and Anirban and Umar, ex-DSU members who organised the now infamous event – ‘The Country Without A Post-Office’.

Among all, as I observed, it was Umar Khalid who received the most vocal and warm welcome when he spoke to the students well past midnight on Sunday. Videos of his speech last night are now circulating all over the internet.

Sources said that the students and teachers have demanded from the administration that all the charges against them should be dropped. However, this will be easier said than done, admitted a key ex-DSU leader and organiser of the event – “The university can only recommend. The police has to drop the charges,” the source said.

The ex-DSU leader did not entirely agree that the Vice-Chancellor has had a “change of heart” by not allowing the police on the campus since last night. But the leader did agree that the example set by the Jadavpur University Vice-Chancellor who also did not allow the police on campus and the statement in support of JNU by well-known American linguist and intellectual Noam Chomsky – among others – might have made a difference. “We have already given him a grand reception. He has to stay here for five years,” the ex-DSU leader pointed out.

The JNUTA and JNUSU have also demanded that the proctorial enquiry set up to look into the issue should be disbanded and members should be appointed again in order to ensure a fair enquiry.

Since Sunday evening, when the absconding students made a reappearance, till about 6 am on Monday, the general consensus was that the students were going to surrender to the police. And police did enter the campus. However, they were sent back after the VC refused them permission to enter. Later towards the morning, the police, according to sources, offered the students a chance to surrender at the police station. However, due to security concerns, the students declined to leave the campus.

The ex-DSU leader told Youth Ki Awaaz that the attacks at Patiala House Court showed that the right-wing forces were “desperate.” He added – “To attack media-persons in the court premises shows how low you can stoop.”

An AISA source said that the decision to surrender was taken after it appeared that continuing to be “underground” would turn counter-productive.

JNU students maintained an all-night vigil anticipating a police crackdown which did not take place.

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