Agitated JNU Students, Teachers Do Not Want Discipline: Chancellor

Saraswat regretted that successive vice chancellors of the JNU had given a free hand to the students and teachers.

Published15 Jan 2020, 10:19 PM IST
India
3 min read

Agitating students and teachers of JNU do not want "any kind of discipline" said JNU Chancellor VK Saraswat on Wednesday, 15 November, as he attributed the ongoing problems in the varsity to a free run enjoyed by students and faculty for the last 50-60 years.

Saraswat, who is also a member of Niti Aayog regretted that successive vice chancellors of the JNU had given a free hand to the students and teachers.

"The JNU students who are agitating do not want any type of discipline in the system. And even the teachers who are supporting them, they do not want any kind of discipline," he told PTI.

Saraswat said that the ongoing protest by some JNU students and teachers is "unwarranted" as the university administration has already accepted most of their demands.

"See, JNU had a free run for the last 50-60 years. Successive Vice Chancellors have always allowed this freedom," he asserted.

On demand of JNU student’s union to remove the Vice Chancellor, Saraswat said, “JNUSU is changing the goalpost everyday. These (demand of JNUSU to remove the Vice Chancellor) are pressurising tactics.”

‘Debate Should Happen Within Limits’: Saraswat

Noting that debate and discussion in the university campus are good, Saraswat, who was also former DRDO chief said,"but debate and discussion should happen within certain limits."

“If those limits are crossed then it becomes a major issue. Now discipline is what we are trying to bring in terms of action.”
VK Saraswat, JNU chancellor

Saraswat pointed out that under the garb of the freedom of expression the JNU students and teachers are crossing the limits.

"That's why any national issue which happens, they have their opinions and those opinions are sometimes ideologically different...it has happened in the past," he said.

On economist Amit Bhaduri giving up emeritus professorship at Jawaharlal Nehru University, alleging mishandling of the current situation by the university administration, Saraswat said Bhaduri is an eminent personality who is "going by the information which is made available to him by the media".

“He wants to resign, it is his wish, nobody can stop him. But what message is he giving,” Saraswat wondered.

Eminent economist and JNU professor CP Chandrasekhar, too, has withdrawn from the newly-constituted 28-member Standing Committee on Statistics (SCES), chaired by former chief statistician Pranob Sen, citing the situation in the university.

Saraswat on Allegations Levied on JNU VC

On allegation that JNU VC Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar is rigid and not keen to have dialogue with the protesting students, Saraswat said when students go and gherao VCs house then how can he have dialogue with them.

"Dialogue between vice chancellor and students should take place in a disciplined manner," he noted.

Asked about allegations that the JNU VC is appointing faculty close to the RSS, Saraswat said it was absolutely untrue.

“The VC of JNU is one of the finest, eminent engineers from our country. He is academician of a high order. His honesty and integrity is 1000 times better than a large number of Indians. So, to say that he is biased while hiring new faculty is wrong.”
VK Saraswat, JNU chancellor

In fact, earlier the appointments were made on the basis of ideological affiliations, he claimed.

"This accusation can be levelled against the previous appointments which have happened in JNU. There were recruitment of teachers and students of certain ideologies only. That was more correct for the last fifty years," he asserted.

Violence broke out at the university earlier this month as a mob of masked men, armed with sticks, attacked students and teachers and damaged property on the campus, prompting the administration to call in the police.

Many students including JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh sustained injuries and were admitted to the AIIMS Trauma Centre in News Delhi.

Stressing that a student is not supposed to break the door or window of an administration building, Saraswat said, “JNU students have resorted to this and there is no doubt about it.”

The students' union, along with the JNU Teachers' Association, have reiterated that "there cannot be normal academic activities until VC M Jagadesh Kumar is removed and their demands, which include the rollback of hostel manual, no punitive actions against protesting students are met," he said.

The JNUSU has been on a strike from 29 October over the hostel fee-hike issue.

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