A lot has been said about what has transpired at JNU in the last two weeks. The events have been beaten out of shape by paid media outlets. Our vice-chancellor also chose to tweet a distorted version of what actually happened on the February 15 sit-down by the students of JNU near the admin block.
As to, why mandatory attendance is not viable and is not compatible with JNU’s culture – there are a few articles written by students as well as the professors. Links to the same can be accessed at the end of this article.
But for the rest of the post, I am going to debunk JNU’s vice-chancellor, M Jagadesh Kumar’s tweets and tell you what really happened.
Tweet 1 – Vice Chancellor: Taking University to ransom by JNUSU led students and confining the top officials in admin building since morning is highly condemnable. Let us raise our voice against such unwelcome behaviour. You can see the pictures to realize how they are bent upon creating unrest in JNU.
What I think: After the VC had issued the circular for mandatory attendance without discussing it in the Academic Council and lying about it, the students were waiting for the next Academic Council meeting.
Knowing that this rule would be tossed off in seconds if it were to be introduced in the Council since students and majority of the professors oppose such an irrational move, the VC has postponed the AC meeting indefinitely. This left no room for dialogue since an AC meeting is the only direct means of resolving the crisis.
Protesting against the denial of this right to dialogue, students had assembled in large numbers in front of the admin block seeking a response from the VC and asking him to come out of the office.
Assembling in front of the office and demanding a discussion (a students’ right) is termed as being held for ‘ransom’. No one held the VC ‘captive’ instead students were only asking him to come out of hiding. Students had formed a human chain around the block, only to avoid an escape stunt by the VC without an answer because he has a history of such stunts to evade questions. This was termed as ‘confinement’. This ‘so-called’ confinement, however, was only a strategy for him to leave without answering the students because he has been passing his ‘orders’ in a non-transparent and non-democratic way, completely against the spirit of JNU constitution.
Tweet 2 – VC: Even after JNU administration has promised to meet the JNUSU officer bearers, see how they have mistreated and shouted at the two rectors. All this against the attendance in University? Shouldn’t such behaviour be condemned?
What I think: The VC not only didn’t promise anything on these lines but was also adamant about coming out of his office, to simply give his word to the students, who were standing outside his office, waiting there all day in the heat and cold.
When the students organised peacefully to demand a response for his unilateral actions, the least he was expected to do as the head of a premier institute in the country, was come out and heed to the concerns of the students. He decided to sit in his office waiting for the students to do something out of line, which didn’t happen.
Thereafter, he started narrating a story to paint the students as potential disruptors. He did this, by posting a swarm of tweets, playing the victim card by describing the events in the exact opposite of what happened.
Tweet 3 – VC: As you can see from my past tweets, JNU administration including the VC, regularly meets the students for their inputs. Students can meet with appointment or can meet every first Monday of the month in the afternoon without any appointment.
What I think: Then why didn’t he come and meet these very same students? Why didn’t he face them while he claims to meet now and then? What or who has stopped him from showing his face to the students?
Tweet 4 – VC: JNU has assigned Sabarmati ground in the campus as per HC order for any peaceful protests and debates. HC has clearly ordered not to assemble within 100 meters of JNU admin building. But see how JNUSU led protesters are violating the honourable high court orders.
What I think: After having led the struggle peacefully for one and a half, the students were waiting for the AC meeting to happen, for the issue to be discussed. But the meeting, as stated earlier, was postponed indefinitely by the VC. This postponement was a unilateral decision. He has also sent circulars at his whims and fancies, threatening to cut students scholarships, put hostel allotments on hold, and not let them appear for exams, in the past. If there is so much pressure from the students to hold a meeting, the expectation from any rational head of the university would be to prepone the meeting (deeming it as an emergency or situation needing urgent attention), but what he did was to postpone it with no date fixed in sight. After all of this, protests were the only way for students to get him to take note and conduct the AC meeting.
If what he says is true, that members of the AC actually passed the proposal, then why not prove the point by taking it up at the next AC meeting? What is he afraid of, that he had to postpone the meeting itself? These are the questions many will miss if they’re getting misled by the VC’s tweets. He has been busy posting them with the only intention of framing the students of JNU, who he holds a lot against, as disruptors, given the amount of resistance the students offer for his irrational decisions or rather orders.
Tweet 5 – VC: It is but for some JNU professors, doctors and guards, both the rectors, who have been confined in JNU admin building by the JNUSU led agitating students, could not have been shifted to hospital for emergency medical treatment. Treating one’s own teachers like this?
What I think: These are blatant lies that are part of framing and collecting victim cards. The story of one of the rectors needing emergency medical service was cooked up in the process. The fact being that, it was the students themselves who had called for the ambulance after one of the rectors had asked for the same, then the rectors and other professors who were inside the building rushed him into the ambulance, and instead of the ambulance going to the health centre dropped them to their homes. The registrar sent a notice with another lie that the guard called the ambulance in the building. Wow! This creative play was way beyond the imagination of any student present there.
Tweet 6 – VC: JNU administration appeals to all the agitating students to follow rules and regulations of the University and use peaceful means for dialogue to resolve any issues. Please do not bring disrespect to JNU and destroy the future of thousands of other JNU students.
What I think: There were no rules that the students had broken by way of protesting and demanding for their rights. If any rules been broken, then that is only on the part of the VC, who is head bent on creating a picture of students as mobsters and thugs, by framing them with his blatant lies.
After all that happened, the students were shocked to find out, that he (the vice-chancellor) was not in the building the entire time. The whole protest was based on the assumption that he was in the building. Not one person who was present within the building who conveyed this information to the students waiting outside.
Instead, the JNUSU members were misled with the information that he was inside the building. Not even a single person neither the rectors nor the few professors who were moving in and out of the building tried to convey this information. What were they waiting for? What stopped them from conveying this message to the students? Why play such tricks? What is this, if not a part of an effort to mislead the students into doing unforeseen things?
All the pieces when put into place, give a final picture where the Vice-Chancellor is pushing the students to take extreme steps. These tweets are nothing but a part of the agenda of maligning the entire university, and thereby demand and justify the call for harsh actions. His wording of the tweets shows clearly how he is playing the victim card through his stories and calling for condemnation. However, the JNUSU had been actively asking the students to protest peacefully.
The struggle is far from over.
As mentioned above, here are the links to some of the posts written by students and professors on the attendance issue: