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Wednesday 1 April 2020

JNU stirs 208 profs, VCs to write to PM: ‘Left spoils institutions’

Talking about the plight of poor students in centres like JNU, the teachers wrote 'they lose out on the opportunity to build a better future'

Editorials

In India

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On Sunday, teachers and vice-chancellors of more than 200 universities wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding the incidents of violence at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). It alleged that left-wing activists spoiled the atmosphere in educational institutions across the country. The letter is titled, “Statement Against Anarchy of Left-Wing in Educational Institutions.”

Pointing out that the students from poor families are the worst victims of leftist activism, the letter says, “They lose out on the opportunity to learn and build a better future for themselves. They also lose out on the freedom to articulate their own views and alternative politics.”

Among the prominent signatories to the letter are

  • Ravinder, vice-chancellor (VC) Central University of Punjab
  • Shyam Lal Soni, director and professor, NIT Uttarakhand
  • Vinay Pathak, VC, AKTU Lucknow
  • Some JNU professors
    • Ajay Dubey
    • Pawan Dhar
    • Usha Mina
    • Amit Mishra

Besides teachers, those who wrote letters include RP Tiwari, vice-chancellor (VC) of Hari Singh Gaur University, HCS Rathore, VC of the Central University of South Bihar, and Shirish Kulkarni, VC of Sardar Patel University.

5 major points highlighted in teachers’ letter to Modi

In the letter, academics wrote they were greatly disappointed on observing that the agenda of the Left, which is doing harm in the name of student politics, is working. The recent developments from JNU to Jamia, AMU to Jadavpur are warning us that left-wing activists are spoiling the learning environment.

The politics of the left has made it difficult to negotiate in public and make a free speech, the letter says. It adds that the recent turn of events in campuses from JNU to Jamia, from AMU to Jadavpur alarms us to the deteriorating academic environment due to the shenanigans of a small coterie of left-wing activists. This has led to the disruption of academic activities and day to day functioning of these institutions.

“The attempt to radicalise the students at a young age is stifling free-thinking and creativity. It is turning them more into political activists than learners exploring the new boundaries of knowledge,” they wrote.

“Demands that do not have scope for compromise. Picking, shutting down and targeting people has become a common way of these left activists. Public blaming and torture for not adopting left ideology have now reached its peak has gone,” the teachers wrote.

They write in the letter that the worst effect of this kind of politics is on the students who are from poor environment and belong to marginalized communities. Such students are missing the opportunity to pursue education and create a better future.

Such students are also losing the freedom to hold their own perspective and the opportunity for alternative politics. These students are forced to accept the views of the majority left politicians, the teachers said.

Teachers and vice-chancellors appealed to all democratic forces to work together for educational, ideological freedom and freedom of speech.

INC in a trip of its own

The fact-finding committee of the Indian National Congress (INC) has said that the government was behind the violence on 5 January at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus. The committee recommended the immediate removal of University Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar.

The committee also recommended an investigation into the financial and administrative decisions of the vice-chancellor and to initiate a criminal investigation against him. On Sunday, this committee submitted its investigation report to party president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

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