The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers' Association on Tuesday demanded that the varsity immediately retract letters sent to 12 professors emeriti and that the personal apology be tendered to each of them.
Accusing the administration of “blatant falsehood”, the teachers body noted that the subject line of the "offensive letter" to Professor Romila Thapar read, 'Assessment of Past Work of Professor Emeritus in Jawaharlal Nehru University for the committee to decide on continuation' is all the evidence needed to expose the true intentions of the JNU administration."
The JNUTA had accused the JNU administration’s intent as “politically motivated. The JNU admin countered this accusation by saying that the notices were sent to 12 such professors. “The JNUTA finds it laughable that the administration thinks that confessing to an insult on a larger scale counts as a defence,” the letter read.
By casting its net wide across several Professors Emeriti, the JNU Registrar has initiated a process of bringing JNU's past before its Executive Council, so that it can proceed to undo it entirely," the JNUTA said.
JNUTA’s president Atul Sood and Secretary Avinash Kumar demanded that all such letters to Professors Emeriti issued by the JNU Registrar be immediately retracted, any review of their performance put to an end, and a personal apology be tendered to each of them.
JNU registrar Pramod Kumar had said on Monday that Professors H S Gill, C K Varshney, SD Muni, Ashok Sanjay Guha, Asis Datta, R Rajaraman, Romila Thapar, Yogendra Singh, D Banerji, T K Oommen, Amit Bhaduri and Shiela Bhalla had been sent letters by the varsity administration as they attained the age of 75 before March 31, 2019.
After JNUTA's criticism, the university had said it was following its ordinance "in letter and spirit" in the appointment of professor emeritus at JNU.
"As per the ordinance, the university is required to write to all those who have attained the age of 75 years to know their availability and willingness to continue their association with the university. Letters have been written only to those emeritus professors who fall in this category," it said.
The HRD Ministry on Monday clarified that there was no move by JNU to discontinue anyone's professor emeritus status and only the standard procedures were being followed.