A day after holding a massive protest in the nation capital, the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union on Tuesday called November 18 as a “black day”, when ordinary students rose up in defence of an affordable public education only to be “abused, roughed up and beaten up”, but not defeated.
In a statement and appeal to the students, the JNUSU said November 18 shall be remembered as a historic day for all the students and youth of this country adding the Delhi Police and its actions, directly controlled by the Home Ministry, are beyond condemnation.
“On the day the Parliament of India sat for its 250th session, with the commencement of the winter session, the national capital saw a brutal crackdown on students. Blood was spilt on the roads of the national capital.”
At least 50 students were detained by the Delhi Police after the agitating students tried marching to the Parliament on Monday.
The statement said the students from the JNU took to the streets of Delhi to safeguard public education.
“While JNU walked, its spirit and voice was that of the millions of young students who come from diverse and the most marginalised backgrounds that have entered universities/colleges across India or wish to join one of them. What has been sparked off in JNU is the defining battle of our times; to ensure universities remain affordable and accessible. No more exclusions, no more discriminations. Universities will be open, it becomes the cradle of the real New India,” the statement added.
They said they met the Secretary, Ministry of Human Resource Development, and informed the JNU community and all concerned members of the public that despite all efforts the MHRD and particularly the JNU VC are taking no cognisance of the demands of the students.
“They are only interested in diffusing the situation but not willing to make the fundamental guarantee that fee hikes will be rolled back and no further steps will be taken to make education a commodity that is bought and sold. However, it is our collective strength because of which the MHRD has decided to include all elected representatives of the JNUSU and the Hostel Presidents in the enquiry process of the High Powered Enquiry Committee (HPEC) as the stakeholders of the university,” the JNUSU said.
It reiterated its demands, for an “immediate rollback of the illegally passed draft manual and fee structure, along with the declaration of the Inter-Hall Administration (IHA) meeting of October 28 as null and void.”
JNUSU also demanded the initiation of the dialogue between the JNU administration and the Student Community, represented by the elected student representatives, the JNUSU, and the Hostel Presidents, along with reconvening the IHA meeting, according to the procedure outlined in the old hostel manual.
The JNUSU said the MHRD and the HPEC should take serious cognizance of the illegalities in the JNU, perpetuated under the aegis of the JNU VC, Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar, and recommend his removal from the post.
They said this is no longer a protest, it is a question of survival of students and the idea of affordable and accessible public education.
“We appeal to all students and youth across the country to rise up to defend this collective right of all of us and let our voices reverberate in the Parliament of India. Let the present government see how New India is forged by the students and youth of this country.”