JNU teachers' union support students' poll protest

The teachers’ association of Jawaharlal Nehru University are giving their ‘unconditional support’ to students demanding elections in the varsity. They are also planning to talk to authorities on the matter.

“I don't think there is much scope for any kind of confusion on holding the elections. Since the court has already allowed, there should not be a problem,” said D K Lobiyal, president of JNU teachers' association.

Camping near the vice-chancellor’s office, students announced on Monday that their indefinite strike would continue till the time their demands of holding the JNUSU elections on February 9 are met.

Over 100 students joined the strike, shouted slogans and sang songs on Monday. “We have called for the students’ support by asking them to boycott classes which the majority of them are doing,” said Zico Dasgupta, vice-president of SFI.

Members of three parties, Students Federation of India (SFI), All India Students' Association (AISA) and All India Students Federation (AISF) started an indefinite hunger strike from January 20.

“Some 20-30 students have been camping here and more are joining. Five student members have been on hunger strike since the last four days. A few students are also on relay hunger strike,” said Dasgupta.

However, the other student union parties like Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad and National Students' Union of India oppose the strike while some like Democratic Students' Union are against holding the JNUSU elections. 

“We are asking students not to boycott classes,” said a member of DSU. The SFI members allege that DSU created a ruckus in the campus with the intention to break the strike.

Officials from the administration also held a dialogue with the protesters but did not come to a decision. “We have told the students that the GRC (Grievances Redressal Committee) will be formed by Tuesday,” said a senior official. However, members of the students union are of the view that the authorities are giving false assurances.

“They have been telling us that the GRC will be formed soon. At least initiate the process by forming the GRC. We are not asking for defying the Supreme Court mandate. If the court orders postponement the elections till the next academic session, we will adhere to it. So why the speculations on what the court will order?” said an AISA supporter.

The students are asking for quick formation of GRC so that the JNUSU election panel can announce the elections dates.

Authorities have set up a committee to study the Lyngdoh Committee report on the modalities required to hold the elections. They are of the view that the elections should take place within first two months of the beginning of the academic session as stated in the report. “If the students are allowed the elections in February, then in July, which is the beginning of another academic year, will there be another election? There are such areas which are being discussed ,” said a senior official.

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