The teaching community in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has come out in support of students protesting against the Delhi police’s crackdown in the university, calling the police action a “witch hunt” which is “threatening the democratic ethos of the university”.
The students and teachers allege that the police have been victimising Left-leaning students in the garb of carrying out raids inside JNU’s hostels in search of students who raised pro-Afzal Guru and anti-national slogans at a students’ gathering inside the campus on 11 February.
In a statement by the Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) on Saturday, Prof Nivedita Menon said: “The JNU has always been a university where there has been a vibrant democratic culture, where diverse political ideological and academic views have engaged with each other in a spirit of peaceful dialogue and debate.”
The teachers expressed concern over the arrest of JNU Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar on charges of sedition, arguing that the university administration should have handled the matter itself, instead of leaving it up to the Delhi police. “The university has already instituted an inquiry to ascertain the facts and take necessary action. JNUTA believes that the excessive police action is totally uncalled for and expresses its anguish over the university administration’s decision to give a carte blanche to the police to enter the campus to make random arrests,” Menon said.
Students belonging to the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad had confronted the sloganeering students first on Thursday. Questioned on the same, ABVP’s Saurabh Sharma, who is the joint secretary in JNUSU, denied any comment.
A proctor from JNU investigating the matter said on condition of anonymity: “We have sent the names of students who were identified to have raised anti-national slogans on 11 February to the Delhi police. We have carried out inquiry at our own end. ,”