Sunday, May 8, 2016

JNUSU Hunger Strike Enters Eighth Day; Media Silent

NEW DELHI: A status update posted by co-accused in the Jawaharlal Nehru University sedition case, Umar Khalid, begins, “JNUSU President Com. Kanhaiya in an extremely serious condition. Vomitting for the past few hours and in a semi-unconscious state. He has been rushed to the hospital. Health of the rest of the students also deteriorating fast. Com. Parthipan has been advised by the doctors to discontinue the hunger strike as the medical reports suggest the possibility of him contracting jaundice. But he is still continuing with the hunger strike. All students have lost around 4-6 kgs of weight.” 
Khalid’s post continues, “The authoritarian administration dancing to the tunes of RSS-BJP has crossed all limits of insensitivity. It has been the 8th day of the indefinite hunger strike and day before 170 teachers had also joined in solidarity for a day long strike. But still, the JNU administration remains unmoved. On the orders of their masters in Nagpur. they have decided to leave no stone unturned to make an example out of us, so that no student involves herself or himself in activism in the future. Our meeting with the VC yesterday is a case in point, where defending the HLEC he 'advised' the students to be law abiding citizens. We too have decided to fight this back. The hunger strike is not going to be withdrawn till all punishments are taken back. Onwards to the academic council meeting on 10th May, let us intensify the movement. Let once again thousands pour out on the streets of JNU. Lets us show the sanghi VC his place. It will be a fight to the finish!” 

JNU is now almost entirely absent from the headlines, having been the subject of impassioned obsession for a few weeks as three students (Kumar, Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya) were arrested on the charges of sedition. 

Since then, the arrested students have all been granted bail, but the fight against the administration has only intensified as students and teachers who have come out in support, condemn what they say are high handed and unwarranted measures being meted out by the university as ‘punishment’ for the controversial event on February 9. Barring a few headlines -- largely in connection with attacks on JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar -- JNU has disappeared from the media narrative. 

“On the 7th day of the hunger strike in JNU we have come face to face with a truly intransigent foe - 'apathy' - student's lives no longer matter in this country and definitely not for the JNU administration. Our comrades are struggling against heat and hunger while facing cruel and unusual punishment from ABVP. The Sanghi brigade has installed speakers at the protest site to blare "patriotic" songs at our comrades, 24 hours a day,” reads a status update posted to the ‘Stand With JNU’ Facebook page. 

A meeting between JNUSU and the Vice Chancellor failed to lead to a breakthrough, with the following message being posted by JNUSU Gen Secretary (and also one of the co-accused in the sedition case), Rama Naga. 

“The meeting with the Vice Chancellor was highly disappointing. The entire dialogue was reflected on the mentality which was written on the notice sent earlier in the day by the Vice Chancellor. The appeal by the Vice Chancellor to call of our hunger strike was not an "Appeal" but a threat issued in form of an appeal. How come a Vice Chancellor of a premier university of India defines Hunger Strike as an "Unlawful" activity. Hunger Strike is a mode of protest under which no law of the land is violated. 

This is not for the first time that a hunger strike is being done in JNU but it is true that all the protest and activities which have been happening in JNU are new for the VC and he is unable to handle them so. Since from the very first day all the steps taken by the administration have gone against interest of JNU student community. Whether it is allowing police in the campus or doing media trial of student by giving constant false statements to the media or sending our names to parliament or sending the HLEC report to Special Cell. Till today the Vice chancellor is trying to defend the HLEC even though he himself is confused about the details of the report . We still reiterated that the decision taken against the students is not on the grounds that some "norms" where violated by the students. But in reality the decision is taken for believing a particular political ideology.
Almost all the students who are punished by the HLEC are Left Activists including present and former JNUSU office bearers, leaders of various left political organisations. Therefore we reject this kind of targeting of students on basis of political ideology. We challenge the Vice Chancellor to publicly defend his actions and the decisions of HLEC among the JNU student community. The university is not only represents the Vice Chancellor and Administration but the students, teachers and workers due to whom today JNU is reputed all over India and the World. MR Vice Chancellor can you run the university without the cooperation of Students, Teachers and Workers. Our demands are clear and loud, its a do or die battle for us. We will continue our indefinite hunger strike till all the charges are scraped against the students.”
The administration, on its part, has asked the students to call off the strike. The following statement was made by the VC’s office.

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