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From sedition row to HRD Minister being stuck for hours: Jagadesh Kumar's controversial tenure as JNU VC


NEW DELHI: From the infamous sedition row of 2016 and lockdown of his office multiple times to the Union HRD Minister getting stuck for over six hours at the venue of JNU's convocation on Monday, M Jagadesh Kumar's tenure as the Vice-Chancellor of the university has been marred with controversies.

Kumar, who was made the VC in January 2016 and has more than a year of service left, had first brush with controversies as the VC just a week after his appointment when students locked horns with the administration over holding an event against the hanging of parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.

While permission was denied, the students held a debate on February 9, 2016, during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised, leading to students being slapped with sedition charges.

Then JNU students union president Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested and the controversy led to a massive protest by the students.

The students continued to be at loggerheads with the VC over penalties imposed by the varsity on students whose role was established in the February 9 event by an inquiry committee.

Nine months later, a student -- Najeeb Ahmad -- went missing from the university campus after a brawl with members of RSS-affiliated ABVP.

Najeeb has not been traced in three years and there have been umpteen protests on and off-campus on the issue. There have been several instances of the VC's residence and office being gheraoed by the students.

In 2017, Kumar passed an order prohibiting demonstration and protest in the vicinity of the "administration block", which houses the offices of top varsity officials.

The move triggered more protests by the students. In March 2019, the VC alleged that his wife was confined inside his house by hundreds of students who broke into his residence.

On Monday, Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' was stuck inside the AICTE headquarters, the venue for JNU convocation, for over six hours as a protest by the JNU students against a steep hostel fee hike escalated.

The police had to use water cannons to disperse the protestors, while the minister had to cancel his two scheduled events.

The students' union has been on a strike for 12 days against the draft hostel manual, which was approved by the inter-hall administration. They have said the strike would not end until the hostel manual is withdrawn.