New Delhi, Nov 13 (IANS): After an amped up battle over a fee hike which saw the university students in a joust with Delhi police, JNU Executive Committee on Wednesday evening announced a major roll-back in the hostel fee and other stipulations. It also proposed a scheme for economic assistance to the EWS students. "Time to get back to classes," Education Secretary S. Subrahmanyam tweeted as he provided the information.
IANS met the Higher Education Secretary for a quick reaction on the resolution which allows students to go back to classes. He told IANS, "The students met the minister this afternoon and he acted giving them an assurance on a partial rollback. We want students to return to academics and stop the protest."
Equally, sources in HRD ministry argued that one can't keep threatening the system as they can't be given freebies forever. Fifty years of freebies can't be changed overnight, the university has to remain functional, protests over an obsolete entitlement seeking culture cannot be allowed to fester over time.
Subrahmanyam added that the ministry has taken a step back to allow peace to prevail. He said, "From the time it was established, this university has been the epicentre of an anti-establishment position. It is the nature of the beast, it is not about being anti-BJP or anti-X Y Z. This has become their credo. However, I can assure you that over time, you will see many more changes, the vice chancellor is working on many fronts".
With anti-establishment in its blood, many remember that Sitaram Yechury was at the vanguard as JNU Students' Union (JNUSU) President who forced Indira Gandhi to step down as JNU Chancellor, which she had continued to remain even after her defeat in 1977 elections. JNU students had already forced Dr. B.D. Nagchaudhary to resign as Vice Chancellor and the demonstrating group led by Sitaram Yechury had walked from JNU campus to Indira Gandhi's residence in the afternoon.
After 10-15 minutes of strong slogan shouting against the 'Criminals of the Emergency", Indira Gandhi, accompanied by her Emergency-time Home Minister Om Mehta and two more walked to the gate. She was smiling and listened to the slogans for a while. Then, Sitaram Yechury started reading the JNUSU's demands. The very first paragraph listed her government's crimes against the people during the Emergency, described in most graphic detail.
Furious, she walked back to the house, but the very next day quit as JNU Chancellor.