In the wake of an unprecedented attack on our democratic right to unionize in the form of Lyngdoh, it is the prime responsibility of all progressive and democratic students to wage an uncompromising and protracted struggle to defeat Lyngdoh, not only in JNU but everywhere. While most of the universities of the country have been already forced to accept Lyngdoh, it is the JNU students who are still fighting against these reactionary set of rules. Though all petitions filed by students of different universities have been rejected by the Supreme Court, the petition filed by JNU’s Joint Struggle Committee has been recommended to the Constitution Bench after the Two Judge bench in the Supreme Court commented that ‘prima facie the LCR infringes on the constitutional rights of the students to hold elections’. This judgment has put a question on the entire credibility of the LCR. This indeed is a decisive step ahead in our struggle against Lyngdoh, and a result of the collective and uncompromising struggle of JNU’s student movement.
The task ahead is to intensify this struggle against Lyngdoh to reclaim JNUSU elections as per JNUSU constitutions. However, the so-called Left organisations like SFI and AISA are already showing their willingness for different shades of compromise in this struggle. True to its politics of compromise and capitulation before the neo-liberal forces, SFI is already talking about ‘bargaining and negotiating’ in order to reinstate JNUSU elections, instead of calling for an intensification of the ongoing struggle. Their propaganda is full of misinformation too, as always. Their opportunist stand suggests us to ‘explore the option of entering into negotiations with the Solicitor General’. The same Solicitor General has however argued for imposing LCR on JNU elections and right from the beginning had offered (as if on charity) ‘relaxations’ on two counts of age-limit and repetition of candidature. The JNU students had given a mandate to the Joint Struggle Committee to fight uncompromisingly against Lyngdoh in totality in JNU, and such opportunistic suggestions from the state has been rejected right at the beginning. This suggestion of compromise was rejected in the last meeting of the Joint Struggle Committee as well.
AISA on the other hand is trying to bring LCR from the backdoor! Instead of intensifying the struggle for JNUSU elections as per JNUSU constitution they are pushing for the Academic Council/Board of Studies elections, which in their present forms are highly problematic. The student’s representation in AC/BoS is indeed an old demand of the student community and there had been continuous struggle for that. But the current model of these elections, as proposed by the administration, much like Lyngdoh, have provisions for ‘merit clause’ as eligibility criterion for candidates as well as provisions for direct administrative intervention in the election process. Contrary to their claim in their last pamphlet, that these debates have been already settled, AISA since the last four years has been criminally silent on these reactionary clauses of AC/BoS elections, forget about taking part in any debate on this! AISA has not cared to state their position publicly on these problematic clauses till date, which only shows their complicity. Can AISA justify why a student scoring less than 6 grade-points should be deprived of contesting in AC election? And Why a ‘recommendation from the center’ is compulsory for PhD students who want to fight these election? What role will the ‘VC nominated Supervisor’ play in the elections? Why should we accept these undemocratic clauses in AC/BoS elections when we are fighting the same clauses in LCR?
This is a time when education is being commodified and privatised, and when all kinds of movements and dissent are being heavily crushed. This is a time when we fight more intensified and uncompromising battles if we have to secure our basic democratic rights like reclaiming our JNUSU elections as per its own progressive and democratic Constitution. Our fight against Lyngdoh is not just a fight for campus democracy but for democracy at large. It is a fight against forces of privatisation, against the neo-liberal policies. There can be no shortcuts to this fight; and attempts to sabotage our fight against LCR must be resisted. We appeal to the students’ community to expose such compromises and capitulation and build a unified and uncompromising struggle to reclaim JNUSU elections as per JNUSU constitution.