NEW DELHI: Students leaders in JNU, which today featured in the list of top ranking institutions in the country by the Centre, said it was "ironical" that the varsity was being recognised for its "autonomy".
"This hasn't come as a surprise to us because JNU has always been ranked among top institutions. What is ironical is that the university has been awarded the top ranking for its autonomy by the Ministry which has been trying to attack us for months.
"We are thankful to the minister for this ironical certification. It will satisfy many who are concerned about taxpayers' money being wasted by JNU students," JNU students' union president Kanhaiya Kumar said.
Kumar, who is out on bail in a sedition case and has been critical of HRD Minister Smriti Irani in all his speeches, said "when it comes to social sciences, JNU has always been ranked the best. It is also noteworthy that what are the variables based on which the universities have been ranked".
JNU and Hyderabad university, which have been at the centre of controversies recently, top the list of central varsities while IIT-Madras and IIM-Bangalore lead among technology and management institutions, according to the first ever domestic ranking released today by government.
JNUSU General Secretary Rama Naga said "the rankings are not surprising but ironical. They (government) target our autonomy and later certify us for being among the top autonomous institutions." Students' Union vice-president Shehla Rashid Shora said "The world knows that JNU students do not go places by rot learning by mugging up facts but by real-life experiences. The ranking contradicts the government's stand on the university but we are proud of it."
The varsity administration also issued a statement, saying "it is an exciting news to know that JNU finds place in top echelons of the Indian universities despite its broad-based nature of research and teaching".
Earlier today, the HRD minister released the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) covering 3,500 different institutes in four categories. JNU, which has been at the centre of a major row over a controversial event and the subsequent arrest of Kumar, is ahead of all other central universities while Central University of Hyderabad, which has been rocked by protests after the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula, is placed fourth.