JNUSU ex-presidents demand inquiry into lathi charge by HC judge; all India protest on Nov 27

CPI(M) general secretary and former JNUSU president Sitaram Yechury said the bigger agenda was to make India a Hindu Rashtra

JNUSU ex-presidents demand inquiry into lathi charge by HC judge; all India protest on Nov 27

NH Political Bureau

About half a dozen former presidents of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) from diverse political background came together on Monday to condemn police action against JNU students and demanded a time bound injury by a High Court judge into the lathi charge on protesting students.

Addressing a press conference in Delhi, all the former presidents criticised the government for the police action on JNU students and emphasised that their support to the JNU students is to defend public education in the country.

“We need to demand that our money should be spent on us, and on the education and health care which will build up our society and meet the needs of the people, particularly the younger generation who is our future. Our education and health system should not be treated like cash cows for profiteers,” reads a joint statement issued by ex-JNUSU presidents which include NCP leader DP Tripathi.

Sitaram Yechury, who was elected JNUSU president thrice in 1970s, and famously read out charges against then PM Indira Gandhi right in front of her, said that the ‘assault on JNU’ is part of a larger agenda.

“Our solidarity is not only confined to the question of the struggle going on in JNU, not confined to the question of only protest against fee-hike. It is part of the larger struggle in order to protect public education and public funded education in India,” said Yechury.

Saying that the attack on JNU fits in to the ideological schemes of the Modi government, Yechury asserted, “In order to establish a Hindu Rashtra as they call it, they require to mount an assault on reason, they require intellectually to replace rationality with irrationality…and that is the only basic they seek to succeed. That is why they target the higher education and research bodies. This is a much larger agenda which is very dangerous for the future of India.”

Former CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat who won JNUSU elections in 1973 and who is widely credited with drafting the JNUSU constitution, said that the wider issue is future of public funded education in India.

Saying that under this government, tendency of monetisation and privatisation of education has increased, Karat recalled that JNU was in danger of becoming an elitist institute in the 1970s but JNUSU – through a more inclusive admission policy – ensured that students from diverse backward get entry into the institution.

N Sai Balaji, the outgoing JNUSU president said that JNU students are fighting to ensure cheap and quality education for all. Accusing VC Jagdesh Kumar of spreading lies, Balaji said that the VC has no regards for the democratic process.

Extending his support to the ongoing JNU protests, journalist and column writer NR Mohanty, who won JNUSU election in 1982, said that the JNU students are rising in defence of democratic principles.

“JNU has always stood in the defence of reason,” he said. Saying that the VC is the root cause of the problem, editor of Hard News, Amit Sengupta demanded the removal of the VC.

He said, “the VC does not understand academic brilliance and rigour of the JNU and he works against the interest of the student community, under the direction of the RSS; he must be removed immediately from his post.”

The joint statement also called for an all India protest on November 27 in support of JNU students.

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