JNU campus abuzz over ‘illegal’ Vivekananda statue even as VC calls for dialogue

Even as JNU Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar on Friday called for a dialogue with students, the university was grappling with a fresh controversy over an unauthorised statue of Swami Vivekananda

PTI photo
PTI photo
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NH Web Desk

The Vivekananda statue inside JNU campus, yet to be unveiled though, has neither been constructed by the JNU administration nor funds from JNU were apparently used on its construction, raising serious questions of security and the functioning of the university.

The statue has been in the news after some TV channels claimed that the statue had been vandalised and showed some slogans scrolled around it. While the controversy, it was claimed, was designed to divert attention from the on-going agitation against fees-hike, copies of RTI replies have now surfaced to suggest that the university’s Engineering department never received any request for construction of the statue.

A group of teachers closely associated with the RSS are said to be responsible but since the Forest Department had given permission to fell trees for building admin blocks, students are asking with whose permission the statue was installed in the first place.

The following tweets suggest a clandestine and unauthorised operation.

In the meanwhile, JNU Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar on Friday issued an appeal to the agitating students to call off protests, saying that dialogue "cannot be dictated through coercion and illegal methods".

The VC also requested JNU's teachers to appeal to the disgruntled students to end their agitation that is hampering "studies of thousands of students on the campus" who are preparing for their end-semester examinations.

"JNU administration would always like to engage in a dialogue and discussion, but the process and form of any such interaction cannot be dictated through coercion and illegal methods. No dialogue in this form will be fruitful," he said.

The VC’s appeal is ironical, however, considering that a chronic complaint against him has been that he refuses to meet either students or teachers who approach him with an issue. Teachers also point out how the VC got the venue of the last Executive Council meeting shifted from the campus to the ITO, 18 Kms away, without informing teachers. As a result, the three elected teacher members of the EC and the Deans could not attend the meeting.

"We are protesting since October 28. So far 16 days have gone, but the Vice-Chancellor has not given any assurance. The Vice-Chancellor is not ready to talk to us. No message has been received from his side either,” JNUSU had maintained on Wednesday.

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