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9 JNU students call off indefinite hunger strike


Press Trust of India New Delhi
Nine JNU students, who were on an indefinite hunger strike against the administration, ended their fast after a 'declaration' was adopted by the teachers' association and the students' union.
The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU), Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers' Association (JNUTA) made a 'Sabarmati Declaration' to vote out the Modi government to safeguard higher education, they said.
An All India Universities Convention was organised by the JNUTA and JNUSU where speakers criticised the Modi government for "destroying higher education" and "public-funded education".
"This election, if they form the government, probably everything would be finished. Every institute is being headed by clones of Modi," said Anand Teltumbde of the Goa Institute of Management.
He was arrested for his alleged Maoist links in connection with the Elgar Parishad case.
Several other activists were booked by the police following an Elgar Parishad event on December 31 2017, which the police had alleged triggered violent clashes at Bhima-Koregaon village, near Pune, the next day.
Teltumbde said the government wants to "scare" everyone and has "destroyed everything" and that has been done systematically.
"Superficially, there is no difference between the Congress and the BJP. While the Congress is expediency driven, the BJP is ideology driven," he alleged.
JNUTA president Atul Sood alleged the government has "destroyed" primary and secondary education and access to education has been "completely taken away".
"The past five years have seen a concerted attack on the public funded university and other institutions of higher learning," he added.
The declaration adopted by the JNUTA and JNUSU demanded "substantive autonomy for public education", "socially responsible and transformative public education", expansion of public education and that public education must be publicly funded.
"Members of more than 20 universities across the country and student-teachers of JNU have pledged to vote out the Modi government in order to save higher education," according to the declaration.
Eleven students were on a hunger strike on the campus in protest against the online system of entrance exam that will be implemented from this academic session and several other issues.
Six students fell ill at different stages and had to be hospitalised. The five remaining students were joined by four more students from Saturday. Nine of them called off their fast on Wednesday.
Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar had on Monday alleged that some students forcibly entered his house and confined his wife and had later said he had "forgiven" them and would not file a complaint with the police.

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First Published: Mar 27 2019 | 10:00 PM IST

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