After 12 days of hunger strike, the JNUSU yesterday had signed an agreement with the administration, the first clause of it being the issue of punishment to 11 student activists, including the President, General Secy. and Joint Secy. of the students’ union. As per the agreement, “The Vice Chancellor has agreed to reconsider the punishment based on the Proctorial decision with regard to the incident that took place on 19th February 2007 on receiving individual letter of regrets with an appeal from concerned students to enable them to register by 14th August 2007.”
Before the agreement was signed, an all organisation meeting was convened, where the JNUSU, involved organisations and victimized individuals participated. There was a majority opinion in favour of submitting the appeal. DSU has consistently been arguing against any individual ‘appeal’ from a principled position. But after the JNUSU decided in favour of the appeal, we decided to go with it for the sake of unity of struggle, albeit with a note of dissent.
So, as things stand now, the students have a promise of “reconsideration”, (not “revocation”) provided all the victimized students tender individual “appeals”. While JNU hopes that the VC will respond to the overwhelming public opinion from inside the campus and out, and revoke all punishments, the student community must remain vigilant. We must keep in mind that the struggle to get justice for victimized students is not over till all the punishments, all rustications and fines are revoked completely.
A significant step has been taken towards redressing the continual violation of labour laws in the campus. There has been an agreement that: “On workers’ right, the university will constitute a permanent committee with the representation of all the sections of University community within a month.” One hopes that the administration will be true to the time-frame agreed upon and empower the committee to redress the historic wrongs perpetrated upon the workers for years. We must also remember that no committee, however empowered, is a substitute for a
strong and ever-vigilant workers and students’ movement.