JNU V-C Jagadesh Kumar: Controversy's child

There is a growing clamour for JNU vice-chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar's resignation after Sunday's violence in the university campus. Photo/Twitter (@mamidala90)

From the row over lodging of a sedition case against six students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in February 2016 to the unprecedented incident of violence in the campus on Sunday, varsity's vice-chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar has remained at the centre of controversies.

This time, there is a growing clamour for Kumar's resignation after Sunday's violence in the university campus.

He had his first brush with controversies soon after his appointment as the JNU vice-chancellor in the last week of January 2016 as a row over alleged anti-national sloganeering by some students in the campus erupted on February 9, 2016.

On complaints from then BJP MP Maheish Girri and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) leader in JNU Saurabh Sharma, Delhi police registered an FIR and arrested then president of the JNU Students Union Kanhaiya Kumar and other students of the JNU in connection with February 9.

The vice-chancellor's role had come in for sharp criticism from Left-backed students unions then. He had a face-off with the students subsequently when he ordered rustication of Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya and Mujeeb Gatto, accused in the sedition case.

The vice-chancellor let off Kanhaiya with the imposition of Rs 10,000 fine only. However, he did not spare Sharma, the ABVP activist—he slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 on Sharma too.

Protesting the decision of the vice-chancellor, students went on an indefinite hunger strike that spanned for several weeks.

The vice-chancellor also had to face students' wrath after Najeeb Ahmad, a student, went missing from the JNU campus allegedly following a brawl with members of the ABVP in October 2016. Najeeb has not been traced so far.

In 2017, Kumar drew protests for passing an order prohibiting demonstration and protests in the vicinity of the "administration block", which houses the offices of top varsity officials.

President Pranab Mukherjee had approved the appointment of Kumar, who was an electrical engineering professor at IIT Delhi, from a panel of four names.

Though Kumar has rejected allegations of his links with the RSS, his detractors say he got the coveted job just because of this reason and has been facing students protests for pursuing Sangh's agenda in the varsity.

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