NEW DELHI: Around 180 teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) today came out in support of the police action against alleged anti-national sloganeering on campus and said the university cannot behave like a sovereign country where the laws of the land do not apply.
“Anyone who is involved in unlawful activity should be dealt with as per the law of the land. The police did the right thing by entering the campus. We are teaching students to serve the nation, not go against it. The culprits should be punished,” said Anita Singh, chairman of the Centre for Studies of Law and Governance, JNU.
This reaction by 180 teachers was a response to the strike called by the JNU Teachers Association (JNUTA) as a gesture of solidarity with the JNU Student Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar, who has been charged with sedition for his alleged role in a show of support for Kashmiri Independence.
Eight days ago, a group of 10 students decided to commemorate the memory of Afzal Guru on campus.
Intensifying their protest, the teachers have written to vice-chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar.
“The current scenario, where students are in custody for beliefs allegedly diverse from our own, undermines the very principle of dialogue on which the university was founded. The vice-chancellor should withdraw the formal permission given by him to the Delhi police granting them unprecedented rights to conduct indiscriminate search and arrest anyone on campus. The state is to protect, not selectively harass the masses,” said Ajai Patnaik, the JNUTA president.
Further, the JNUTA president said they demand that the internal inquiry committee set up by the varsity to investigate the matter should also have a member from the Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH).
Ramnath Jha from the Sanskrit Department at JNU feels that “the teachers who are on strike do not represent the entire faculty. There is a certain kind of ideology which is forced upon all the students and teachers. If you disagree, then you are called names and personal attacks are made. This kind of “trade unionism” by students is affecting the daily lives of students on campus.”
Mandira Dutta, professor of political science, said he feels “embarrassed and deeply pained after seeing such anti-national activity” on campus.
The group comprises of teachers from biotechnology, political science and Sankrit, among others. The group is threatening to break away from JNUTA if their demands of conducting regular classes peacefully and general functioning of the varsity are not met.