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JNU writes to Sumitra Mahajan, Naidu after MPs participate in campus protest


Press Trust of India New Delhi
The Jawaharlal Nehru University administration has written to Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan after some MPs participated in a protest meeting called by the varsity's teachers' association at its administrative building.
The protest meeting was called by the JNU Teachers' Association to resist dilution of reservations in public education which was attended by MPs Manoj Jha, Jitendra Choudhury and L Hanumanthaiah, among others.
The JNU administration expressed "considerable distress" regarding the incident which has "violated the order of the Honourable High Court of Delhi as well as the varsity's rules and regulations".
"The JNUTA had invited Manoj Jha and Jitendra Choudhury for a protest in the campus, which is their democratic right. However, what is shocking and unexpected is that the JNUTA office-bearers misled the honourable Members of Parliament and brought them to protest at the administration building which has been prohibited by the high court for any kind of protest and dharna," the letter said.
Our university rules too do not permit holding any form of protest within 100 metres of administrative and academic buildings, it said.
"The high court, while declaring that no protest or dharna can be held within the 100 m of administrative and academic buildings, had also directed the university to designate a suitable place in the campus for this purpose, which the JNU administration had promptly done and informed the court as well as the JNU community, including the teachers and the students," the letter added.
The JNU believes in and always respects freedom of expression and liberty to peaceful dissent and protest, it said.
"We do believe that had the MPs been informed by the JNUTA of this court order and university rules they would have refrained from joining the JNUTA protest at the administration building of the JNU today. We regret the fact that the MPs were used by JNUTA office-bearers, who themselves are senior faculty members of the JNU, to lead the protest in a prohibited area bringing them into the bad light," the letter said.
It concluded by seeking guidance from Naidu and Mahajan on the issue.
Co-incidentally, the administration had written to L Hanumanthaiah before the protest, urging him not to address the meeting as the venue falls in the prohibited area, but he was present at the meeting.
On the letter, Hanumanthaiah said those who were not in line with the accepted thought process were being targeted. He also congratulated the JNU community for raising their voice despite them being labelled "anti-national".
"The high court order prohibiting protests only applies to the students and not the teachers. We had gone there to speak against the 13-point roster, which is discriminatory in nature. This government wants to end subaltern views," he told PTI.
In a statement, the JNUTA secretary said, "There was a protest meeting on the roster issue which was addressed by three MPs. There is no court order disallowing the JNUTA from allowing such a meeting. By making such a false statement - and getting someone who is not even the registrar to sign it, the JNU VC is insulting the Parliament and the high constitutional offices to which the letter is addressed.

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First Published: Jan 31 2019 | 10:30 PM IST

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