The Indian Express : Jan 21, 2020, 03:49 PM
Asserting that the basic demand of JNU students on the issue of hostel fee hike has been met, Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ on Tuesday said that the calls for the removal of the university’s Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar are now not reasonable.The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) administration announced a hike in hostel fee in October last year, including the introduction of service and utility charges. Following this, students took to the streets demanding a rollback, prompting the HRD ministry to form a three-member panel to mediate between the agitating students and the administration to restore normalcy in the campus.“The basic demand of students about the hostel fees hike has been met. The calls for JNU VC’s removal now are not reasonable, removing anybody is not the solution,” he said in an interview to PTI.After various meetings with the JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) and the varsity administration, the ministry directed the University Grants Commission (UGC) to fund the utility and service charge, and appealed to the students to call off their agitation.Referring to JNUSU’s decision to move court against amendments in the hostel manual, including the fee hike, and continue its boycott of the semester registration process, Pokhriyal said, “It is the university’s call on what to do next.”The students’ union moved the Delhi High Court on Tuesday challenging the inter-hostel administration’s decision on amending the hostel manual.The ministry ruled out the removal of Jagadesh Kumar saying that the government’s focus is to address the main issues that have cropped up on the campus.The minister added that the situation in the university is turning normal. The students of the JNU have been asking for the removal of the vice-chancellor following the violence inside the campus on January 5 in which many students and teachers were injured.“Over 80 per cent students have already registered for the winter semester. The students who want to study should not be disturbed. If our universities have to excel in global competition, we need to rise above these issues,” said the minister.Asserting that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is not aimed at taking away anybody’s citizenship, the minister appealed to students “to explain this to those misleading public on the issue and indulging in petty politics”.“The CAA is to give citizenship to those with Indian roots, it is not aimed at taking away anybody’s citizenship. I appeal students, who are the future of the country, to explain this to those who are misleading the public on the issue and doing petty politics,” Pokhriyal said.