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JNU calls administrative block siege a criminal act

IANS | New Delhi |

With the Jawaharlal Nehru University students' 'Occupy Ad-Block' protest continuing for the fourth day on Sunday, the university administration issued another denunciation of the demonstrating students and called their agitation a "criminal act".

"The agitating students have no basis for occupying the Administrative Block building, physically stopping the staff and officials from entering the administration building. This trespassing is criminal and violation of the law of the land," a statement by the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) authorities read.

The students have been staging a sit-in protest at the Administrative Block of the university, which has the offices of senior university officials, in order to seek a response from the Vice-Chancellor on the adoption of a University Grants Commission (UGC) notification on M.Phil. and Ph.D. admissions. 

The notification – which proposed 100 per cent weightage to viva and reducing entrance examination to a qualifying criteria – was adopted by the JNU Academic Council (AC) in its meeting on December 26 last year despite protests from almost half of the Council's members. 

The students along with many teachers have raised their objection to the order being passed unilaterally in the council meeting and have asked the authorities to reconvene the Council to discuss various aspects of the notification. 

The university has told the students that it would abide by the egalitarian spirit of the JNU in admission policy, which will include reducing the viva to 20 per cent and allocating 'extra points' to candidates from backward regions on account of their being deprived of equal opportunities.

However, it has stuck with the clause which imposes a cap on the number of students which a faculty member can guide.

"JNU Admission Policy has all the socially inclusive admission policies of JNU while adopting 2016 UGC gazette notification. Less marks for viva, deprivation points, concessions to Other Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes, and Scheduled Tribes categories… however, will be following the UGC notified upper limits on how many research scholars a faculty can guide," the administration statement said. 

The students, some of whom have been on an indefinite hunger-strike against the notification, have argued that the concerned clause will in effect mean a cut in the intake of students for M.Phil. and Ph.D. streams.