Study first, then shout slogans, says VC Sopory

Study first, then shout slogans, says VC Sopory

'Students' polls resumed in JNU after 3-year SC ban'

The outgoing Jawaharlal Nehru University Vice Chancellor Sudhir Kumar Sopory once told his granddaughter that student protesters shout slogans, “VC hosh main aao (VC come to your senses)!”

“Fir aap hosh main kyon nahi atey ho (Then why don’t you come to your senses)?” the VC said his granddaughter told him.

Sopory, who is going to retire from the post of JNU VC on January 27, told reporters on Tuesday that student union polls resumed in the university during his tenure, after a three-year interim ban on it by the Supreme Court in 2008.

The student union since then has launched successful countrywide campaigns such as Occupy UGC – and currently, the union is demanding justice for a 26-year-old Dalit student of the University of Hyderabad who committed suicide in his hostel room early this week. Following the incident, the JNUSU called for a university strike.

“I always tell students, they can shout: ‘murdabad, zindabad (long live, down-down)’, as long as they do their studies,” the VC said.

The JNU student leaders however, said they disagree with VC. JNUSU vice-president Shehla Rashid Shora said the university’s student community wants elections without the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations. 

The committee’s recommendation lays down rules for conducting students’ union elections, sans so-called money and muscle power.

“It’s an instrument to bring in fee hike,” Shora told Deccan Herald, claiming that the committee’s recommendation has left the JNUSU “wanting for more powers”.
She said the union had recently opposed the university fee hike.

The JNU administration has been sensitive to student demands, Sopory said at a press meet on Tuesday. “Some students objected to a signage which says ‘blind curve’,” he said, as he turned around to ask his colleagues to suggest a term that is not offensive to visually impaired students.

“The university conducts an access audit for ensuring barrier free campus for disabled students,” he added.

On his unaccomplished promises as a VC, Sopory said, “We had funds since two years but I haven’t been able to get permission for construction for over 20 months now. Despite all the support I got from LG, DDA, etc, the plan has got stuck again with the Ministry of Environment and Forests.”

The outgoing VC has faced intermittent student protests over the issue of hostel crunch.