NEW DELHI: JNU Rector-I Chintamani Mahapatra's tweet on official vetting of print materials meant for circulation by student organisations has been slammed by students who said it manifested the administration's intention to "gag students' voice".
On March 2, Mahapatra tweeted, "JNU and other universities may learn from Harvard University that requires official vetting of any print material that student organisations seek to distribute in the campus!!.
A link leading to Harvard College Handbook for Students 2017-18 page, which talks about approval for circulation of printed material, was also attached with the tweet.
JNU and other universities may learn from Harvard University that requires official vetting of any print material that student organisations seek to distribute in the campus!!— CHINTAMANI MAHAPATRA (@chintamani36) March 2, 2018
The tweet was retweeted by the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) vice chancellor.
JNU Students Union president Geeta Kumari said it is a clear manifestation of their intention to "gag opposition voices".
"This is what we have been telling for over a period of time. All student activists who question arbitrary rules and regulations have been targeted and issued notices. All these years, fines against students would be around Rs 2,000, now it is extending up to Rs 20,000," Kumari said, after attending an inquiry session with the Chief Proctor for organising protests against the varsity's move on compulsory attendance.
The Rector 1 did not respond to calls or messages from PTI.
A student of the Centre for Women's Studies, who requested not to be named, said, "A committee has already been formed by the administration to look into removal of all posters from campus.
They are proposing placement of billboards at specific locations instead.
This is taking away the essence of what JNU.
"Mahapatra tweeting about vetting any printed material is not any innocent discovery of a 'glorious' tradition at Harvard. They will soon bring in similar measures here," the student added.
Another student said, "The rector's tweet shows how administration is using law and university apparatus to curtail freedom of expression and forwarding a specific agenda of government that is against the spirit of democracy.