New Delhi: JNU vice-chancellor Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar, at the centre of the campus violence controversy, had “come with an agenda to change the character of the university”, said an HRD ministry note to the PMO in November last year.
The note, accessed by ThePrint, also said change may be required but “the change should have been calibrated and brought-in through more innocuous means”.
Jagadesh Kumar, who became JNU V-C in 2016, has been criticised severely by faculty and students for his handling of the fee hike issue that started last year in October. And, now, after Sunday’s violence on campus, in which masked miscreants attacked students and teachers and vandalised property, calls for his removal have grown louder.
The November note was sent by the ministry to apprise the PMO of the situation following the fee hike protests. It had pointed out that the origin of the crisis that unfolded in JNU could be traced to the “non-recognition of the JNUSU by the VC on the grounds that election has not been conducted by the university authority as stipulated under the Lyngdoh Committee report”.
The ministry said, “The VC of the university has come with an agenda to change the character of the university. Whereas it may be required in many cases, the change should have been calibrated and brought-in through more innocuous means.”
ThePrint has reached the HRD ministry for a comment on its note through email and WhatsApp, but there was no response until the time of publishing this report.
‘No love lost’
The note pointed out that the V-C had not met the agitating students even once and “administration of the university had come to a standstill”.
“There is no love lost between the VC and the student community. The VC hasn’t been meeting the students fearing their anger. There is hardly any communication between the administration and the students. The administration has come to a standstill and the students are on the rampage.”
The ministry had also said that in the absence of a “recognised leadership” — since V-C Jagadesh Kumar did not recognise JNUSU — the students “have been going berserk”.
“The situation is fast going out of control with the students becoming more and more restless, and a situation of rioting is fast emerging in the campus”.
A senior HRD ministry official told ThePrint that the situation could have been averted with some cooperation from the JNU V-C.
The official claimed Jagadesh Kumar not only refused to cooperate with the High-Powered Committee that was appointed by the ministry to settle fee issue but would also “get into constant conflict with the faculty”.
“He passed orders such as holding WhatsApp exams, which would water down the academic credibility of the institution,” added the official.
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