Prof condemns 'brutal assault' on JNU, returns award

Former JNU Teachers Association (JNUTA) president Professor Chaman Lal returned his award to union HRD ministry on Friday, saying that he never saw such a “brutal assault” on JNU before the disgruntled author returned his award to the union HRD ministry through speed post. He claimed that the officials at the Central Hindi Directorate had refused to take back the award on Feb 24.

“I have returned the award containing a citation and Rs 50,000 cash conferred on me by Central Hindi Directorate, union HRD ministry, in the year 2003 by then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and signed by then union HRD minister Dr Murli Manohar Joshi for ‘non-Hindi speaking area Hindi writer’,” he said at a news conference in JNU on Friday.

Enumerating the reason behind returning the award through speed post, he said, “Officials at the Central Hindi Directorate are so terrorised that they declined to accept it”. Lal said the government has launched its most “brutal attack in the history of independent India and resistance shown by the students and teachers are most glorious against such attack”. 

He alleged the Centre and HRD ministry are not only “against the JNU but also against idea of Nehru’s name and legacy”.

The eminent author had last year returned the Hindi translation award of Punjabi poet Paash’s collection “Samay O Bhai Samay”, given to him by the Sahitya Akademi in 2002, in protest against the alleged intolerance in the country. He said returning awards is the most democratic form of protest.

‘Credible inquiry’
Meanwhile, the JNUTA reiterated its demanded for a “credible inquiry” into the controversial February 9 event commemorating the ‘judicial killing’ of the 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.

“VC must include one more member from SC or ST community in the committee and communicate the terms of reference of the inquiry panel. Suspension of all the students should be revoked and inquiry should start afresh so that it looks credible,” said JNUTA president Ajay Patnaik.

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