JNU administration and teachers clash over circulars on attendance, academic calendar
The JNU Teachers Association began their hunger strike on Monday against the varsity's two circulars on rescheduling the academic calendar and compliance of faculty attendance, saying "threatening" them for biometric attendance is a violation of their right to privacy.
Through a circular, issued in mid-November, the JNU administration has said seven years in the university were necessary for availing sabbatical leave by a faculty member.
In another circular issued on November 13, it announced that proposals for seminar participation, conference travel, project meetings, fellowships, including those scheduled during vacations, would be allowed if teachers comply with the directions of the university, the JNU Teachers' Association (JNUTA) said.
JNUTA wants the circulars to be withdrawn immediately.
"Threatening teachers for biometric attendance is a violation, in letter and spirit, of the Right to Privacy provided by the judgments of the Supreme Court. These diktats seek to burden teaching-learning in JNU with bureaucratic rules, and make it undignified and disrespectful to the teachers," JNUTA said.
In response to the strike, the administration said JNUTA office-bearers are "determined to vitiate" the academic environment on the campus through their "unlawful activities".
Despite requests to not to hold the 'dharna' near the administration building, a "prohibited area" for such activities, the JNUTA leadership is holding their 'dharna', it said.
JNUTA has maintained that they are doing nothing illegal and the rules prohibiting a 'dharna' near the administration building is only for students.
But the administration said the hunger-strike in front of the JNU Administrative Block is in defiance of the Academic Rules and Regulations — "which is applicable to all the components of the University."
The association's 24-hour hunger strike began at 10 am. Later, it accused the JNU administration of having a "cold-blooded and apathetic response" to its protest as teachers had to sit under open skies in winter.
JNUTA said tent and other materials for their hunger strike were prevented from being brought into the campus by the order of the vice-chancellor/registrar.
The administration also barricaded the roads to the Administrative Block and posted large number of security personnel to prevent the hunger strike from taking place at the designated venue, it claimed.
"If any more proof was needed to establish that the current JNU administration's intention of 'mutual dialogue' is hollow and that they are only interested in throttling all dissent, this is it!" JNUTA said.
In response to the varsity's statement saying JNUTA office-bearers are vitiating the academic environment, the association has dared the vice-chancellor for a public debate on the matter.
JNUTA had submitted a memorandum of demands to the executive council members before the council's meeting on Tuesday, but alleged that it was not discussed. The administration, however, said Sunday such matters needed to be routed through the department concerned, following appropriate procedures.
JNUTA president Atul Sood said, "Shocking that administration is defending its illegal actions and wrongfully putting the onus on teachers."
(With inputs from agencies.)