Over 110 teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University signed a statement on Thursday disassociating themselves from the teachers’ association of the institute owing to the group’s “indifference” towards alleged attacks on their colleagues by some protesting students.
The teachers also said the formation of the high-powered committee by the HRD Ministry to resolve the impasse over the hike in hostel fees amounts to “interference” in the matters of an autonomous university.
JNU Teachers’ Association President D K Lobiyal, however, said they have not received any communication about some teachers disassociating themselves from the group.
In a press conference, the section of teachers accused JNUTA of “supporting, instigating and using students”, and at the same time expressed solidarity with the protesters and hoped that the issue of hostel fee hike is resolved amicably.
“We have decided to dissociate ourselves from JNUTA from November 20. The primary reason behind this decision is the shocking indifference of the present office bearers of JNUTA to a series of dastardly attacks on teachers in last one month,” they said and accused the JNUTA of being “hand in glove” with the miscreants in “attacking, abusing, confining and intimidating own colleagues”.
Their statement came in the wake of Professor Vandana Mishra, an associate dean of the varsity, allegedly being confined to over 24 hours in a classroom by students protesting over the hostel manual.
They also alleged that the protesting students have targeted the family members of faculty members.
“A large section of the students are interested in attending classes. However the agitating students threaten other common students and ask them to not attend the classes,” the teachers claimed and alleged that the protesters made “communal remark while gheraoing the teachers “in a bid to instigate and belittle them”.
The teachers also said the appointment of the high powered committee by the HRD ministry “may complicate the process of resolving the crisis originally triggered by the UGC”.
“The formation of this (high-powered) committee amounts to interference in the matters of an autonomous university. The committee does not include either the vice-chancellor or the chancellor of the university,” they said.
“This high-powered committee is an attempt to create an ad hoc hierarchy of authority, which will set dangerous precedence for other universities and their autonomous status,” the teachers opined.
They also alleged that the administration has merely been reduced to a stakeholder and as such the authority of he chancellor and the vice-chancellor have been brazenly undermined.
Professor Ashwini Mohapatra, the dean of a school in the university, said he had “boycotted” the meeting of deans with the committee on Tuesday.
“There have been protests in other universities also. But has such a committee been formed to look into issues at BHU which is currently seeing protests or for the Allahabad University which saw protests?” he asked.