This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Abhishek Jha. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

JNU VC Makes SC/ST Admissions Tougher With New Rules, Suspends Students For Protesting

More from Abhishek Jha

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) may soon admit students to its M. Phil. and Ph.D. courses based on a qualifying exam and an interview. The Academic Council (AC) meeting of the varsity approved the adoption of a UGC gazette notification on admission procedures despite protests by students and members of the Council. The proposal will now go to the Executive Council for approval, post which the change will come into effect.

The May 5 notification of the UGC had laid out a uniform procedure for higher educational institutions admitting M.Phil/Ph.D. students who have not qualified eligibility tests like NET, SLET, and GATE. The procedure requires students to pass an entrance test with 50 per cent marks as the qualifying score. The University will then select students with this minimum percentage on the basis of an interview. JNU currently gives 70 percent weightage to the entrance test and 30 percent weightage to the interview.

The notification also set uniform eligibility criteria for applying to research courses. The regulatory body had then said that students will have to pass the Master’s and M.Phil. programme with an aggregate of 55 percent marks for admission to M.Phil. and Ph.D. courses respectively. A relaxation of 5 percent will be given to candidates belonging to the SC/ST/OBC category.

Under the present system, the centres of JNU follow different eligibility criteria. However, all SC/ST/PD candidates who have passed the qualifying examination are eligible to appear for the entrance examination. OBC candidates get 10 percent relaxation in the qualifying examination. This too remains, however, subject to approval of the Academic Council.

While JNU Registrar Pramod Kumar said the University adopted the norms in the recently held academic council meeting, some members of the academic council claimed the issue was not discussed. They also said that they will challenge the decision.

“As far as AC members are concerned, that part of the minutes was contested. So if they try to make it official, they will face resistance,” Nivedita Menon, Chairperson of the Centre for Comparative Politics and Political Theory and a member of the AC, told YKA.

A statement by 20 faculty members also alleged that the minutes of the meeting “contained many errors, misrepresentations, and falsities”. “One of the most alarming insertions to the minutes gave the Vice Chancellor powers to manipulate the list of experts for Selection Committees sent by the Centres and Schools. This had not been approved by the previous Academic Council meeting,” the statement read. The statement further alleged that the VC pushed through the agenda “without any discussion despite several objections from the floor, including those who were not allowed to speak even once”.

“The Academic Council meeting was completely disrupted and disrupted by the Vice Chancellor. And nothing has been passed as far as we are concerned. So we are going to challenge this,” Ranjani Mazumdar, Professor at the Centre for Cinema Studies and a signatory of the statement, told YKA.

A statement from the University too confirmed the adoption of the May 5 UGC notification. Referring to protests against the passing of minutes, the statement asked members “to desist from indulging in such acts in future”. The university also served suspension orders to at least 11 students on December 27 accusing them of disrupting the AC meeting. The suspended known so far to have been served suspension orders are Bhupali Vitthal Magare, Rahul Sonpimple, Praveen Thallapelli, Dawa Sherpa, Dilip Yadav, Mulayam Singh, Dilip Kumar, Birendra Kumar,  Shakeel Anjum, Prashant Nihal, and Praveen Tulasi. Almost all students belong to the SC, ST, OBC, or minority communities.

The orders for the students, a copy of which YKA has seen, state that the VC has ordered their academic suspension and withdrawn their hostel facilities. A proctorial enquiry has also been instituted and the suspension will stand until the enquiry is finished. The orders also state that anybody giving shelter to the students inside the university will “invite strict disciplinary action”.

BAPSA, the organisation to which three of the suspended students belong, said in a Facebook post after the suspension that they were protesting at the AC meeting to demand reduction of the weightage given to the interview from 30 percent to 10, to demand minority deprivation points, implementation of SC/ST/OBC reservation at faculty level and in direct Ph.D. admissions, revoking of the recent fee hike, punishment for authors of a ‘racist’ dossier prepared earlier this year and those guilty of assaulting missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmad.

“The social boycott and academic suspension of BAPSA’s leading activists and others students from marginalized communities is a well-thought strategy by JNU VC (Backed by RSS/BJP) to counter the growing Ambedkarite Movement or the emergence of marginalized students politics in JNU. It’s a replication of last year MHRD/BJP’s attack on Rohith Vemula and others or Ambedkarite Movement in HCU,” the statement on the social media site read. It also criticised the AISA-SFI led JNU Students’ Union for not protesting on December 26.

Mulayam Singh, one of the suspended students YKA spoke to, also criticised the JNUSU and the JNU Teachers’ Association for not participating in the December 26 protest organised by BAPSA, DSU, United OBC Forum, and others. “Both the JNUSU and the JNU administration have collectively passed the decision of fee hike and given the fate of students in the hands of the various Centers by letting them decide the student’s marks in Viva Voice. It has been already proved that all of the Centers discriminate against ST, SC, OBC, and minority students. The Abdul Naffeh Committee which was formed by the JNU Administration itself has already stated that the discrimination against ST, SC, OBC, and minority students is high in all the Schools and Centres,” Mulayam Singh, one of the suspended students told YKA. 

Asked whether the protests will have any bearing on the final notification of the new admission process, the Registrar Pramod Kumar said, “We have confirmed it but there is a rule. After the Academic Council it will go to the Executive Council, and the Executive Council will approve it. So the process is long. But it is a UGC rule and everybody has to follow it. So we will also follow it”.

Note: The article has been updated to include details of the suspension orders, the statement by BAPSA, and the statement by suspended student Mulayam Singh.

Featured image source: Facebook and Youtube

You must be to comment.

More from Abhishek Jha

Similar Posts

By Sumit

By shreya ghosh

By Kritika Nautiyal

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below