Govt-appointed panel holds talks with JNU students

awaharlal Nehru Students' Union (JNUSU) president Aishe Ghosh with other students comes out after meeting with Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) officials at Shastri Bhawan. PTI

A high-powered committee, appointed by the government on Wednesday, held the first round of talks with JNU students in order to “peacefully” resolve the ongoing tussle between the students and the varsity administration over hostel fee hike and other issues to restore normalcy in the campus.

In a curious turn of events, meanwhile, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) raised objections to the constitution of the committee, calling it a move to interfere with the autonomy of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).

It also announced the withdrawal of its support to the students stir, criticising the leaders of the Left-backed student's unions for “prostrating” in front of the high-powered committee.

“No self respective students movement can accept such an unethical committee formed at the instruction of the HRD ministry because the mandate of the committee involves breaching the autonomy of the JNU and interfering into the exclusive jurisdiction of the JNU community (sic),” the ABVP said in a statement.

The committee, comprising former UGC chairman V S Chouhan, AICTE chief Anil Sahasrabudhe and UGC secretary Rajnish Jain, held separate meetings with the JNU Students' Union (JNUSU) office-bearers and the representatives of the students from the varsity hostels and urged them to end their stir.

During the meeting, the students apprised the committee of their concerns over the “repeated violations” of the statutory provisions by the JNU administration, the manner in which the proposals for hostel fee hike and other changes in the hostel rules were passed without involving the students and the teachers' associations.

“It was impressed upon the committee that as long as M Jagadesh Kumar remains the JNU VC, normalcy will be a far cry in the JNU Campus,” the JNUSU said in a statement.

The HRD ministry described the committee's meeting with the students as “cordial” and said that the panel will hold another round of talks with the students, visiting the JNU campus on Friday.

The committee had on Tuesday held a meeting with the deans of the JNU schools over the ongoing tussle between the students and the varsity administration. According to sources, the panel had also invited JNU vice-chancellor to the meeting, but he did not turn up.

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