Restraint on JNU forum lifted

Students from various parties were on hunger strike for the last five days in support of Forum Against War on People

Finally, the protesting Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students have claimed the victory. For the last five days, students from various political forums of the university had been on an indefinite hunger strike against the varsity authorities for banning the functioning of 'Forum Against War on People'. On Tuesday night, the university authorities issued a circular giving them the permission to operate.

Up in arms: A group of students protesting outside the administration
block at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. File pic

The students' forum was banned last year for "disrespecting the national emblem" and their pro-Maoist activities. According to the varsity officials, the Forum was banned as the people of the organisation never owned up to their membership.

Last year in June, the Forum with its single-point agenda, 'Resist Operation Green Hunt', had come up with their signatures notifying about their membership. The restraint, however, still continued.

Hundreds of students sat on a relay hunger strike, which included people from other parties. Five Forum students, however, were on an indefinite strike outside the Administration Block.

"We are not an organisation, but an open forum for like-minded people and those who wish to join the cause of opposing Operation Green Hunt. We do not have office bearers but just members," said Bano Jyotsna, a member of the Forum and a PhD (Sociology) scholar.

On the issue of lifting of the ban, she said, "There was no point putting restraint over us. We sat on a hunger strike so that the administration knew we are an independent democratic group. The proctor had banned it initially saying we were a nameless, faceless organisation even after 50 students giving it in writing that they are its members."   

Poll position
Meanwhile, the still pending JNU students' union (JNUSU) elections, which were banned in 2008 for not being in line with the recommendations of the Lyngdoh Committee, will have their next hearing in the Supreme Court on November 16. The students' body, however, in a recent meeting had come to a consensus over a few relaxations. According to them, the elections were supposed to be held in the end of this month. But these relaxations were opposed by the Youth for Equality (YFE) organisation and the elections were again suspended.

The other side
JNU rector Sudha Pai said "These are internal matters of the university and I don't wish to speak to media about that." Vice-chancellor prof S K Sopory said, "We never had a problem with them. It was just that they never identified themselves. Now after the meeting with the rector and the dean of students' welfare, they have taken the responsibility for the existing Forum. Every organisation has to be owned by someone. Now that they have, they are absolutely free to function."

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