New Delhi, January 9:
HRD Ministry officials on Wednesday “advised” JNU Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar to increase communication with students, take the faculty into confidence and facilitate the semester registration process, days after violence ran amok on the university campus.
The VC, who has been severely criticised by students and faculty members for not taking immediate measures when they were brutally attacked on campus by a masked mob, told the officials that efforts were being made to facilitate semester registration for “willing” students.
“Higher Education Secretary Amit Khare and G C Hosur had a meeting with JNU VC at the Ministry today about the efforts being made to restore normalcy on campus. He ( the VC) informed the officials about efforts being made for facilitating semester registration for willing students and a conducive environment for their academic pursuits,” a senior ministry official said.
The VC was advised to communicate more with students and take faculty members into confidence, the official added. “Communication gaps create unnecessary doubt. There should be less pressure to hurry up registration but facilitate smooth process for all. JNU is a premiere university with international repute and it should remain that way.”
After the nearly two-hour meeting, Kumar tweeted that he briefed HRD officials on the steps being taken to bring normalcy. JNU Rector Satish Chandra Garkoti also attended the meeting.
The meeting came two days after Jawaharlal Nehru University Registrar Pramod Kumar and other officials visited the HRD Ministry and submitted a detailed report on the sequence of events that triggered the violence on the university campus on Sunday. Kumar did not attend that meeting.
“The last date for registration for the winter semester without fine has been extended up to January 12. As part of this registration process about 3,300 students have since deposited fee for online registration. University administration has appealed to all the stakeholders to maintain peace in the campus and not to get provoked by any misinformation,” the VC told the officials.
Kumar also informed the HRD officials that the Communication and Information System (CIS), which was damaged last week allegedly by students opposing the registration process, has been repaired and is now functional. He was assured the funding for utility and service charges will be borne by the UGC as decided previously, officials said.
On Tuesday, two days after masked people armed with sticks attacked students and teachers and damaged property on the campus, Kumar urged students to “put the past behind” and return to studies.
“Our heart goes out to all the injured students. The incident (violence) is unfortunate. I would like to tell students that JNU campus is a secure place. I urge all students to come back to the campus. Let us put the past behind,” the vice chancellor had said.
At least 35 people, including JNU Students’ Union president Aishe Ghosh, were injured in the violence. They were admitted to AIIMS Trauma Centre and discharged on Monday.
The Left-controlled JNUSU and the ABVP blamed each other for the violence that continued for nearly two hours. That night, the HRD Ministry sought a report immediately from the registrar.
Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank,’ who was in Bhubaneswar a day after the incident, said educational institutions cannot be allowed to become “political adda”. He vowed “strong action” against the perpetrators of the violence at JNU.