Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) on Monday held a mock ‘public trial’ of varsity Vice Chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar and sought his removal after holding him “guilty” on several counts.
Kumar was held “guilty” for, among other things, allegedly bypassing the JNU Academic Council and tweaking minutes of its previous meetings not consented to by members.
The “jury” comprised Delhi University Professors Nandita Narain and Apoorvanand, JNU Professors P.K. Yadav and Prabhat Patnaik (emeritus), and senior journalist Akshaya Mukul.
The ‘public trial’ was held on the Sabarmati lawns on the campus, which began with reading of the charges against him by JNUTA President Ayesha Kidwai, economics teacher Jayati Ghosh and Professor Ravi Shrivastav.
Accusing him of “engineering a hostile environment”, Kidwai said during his tenure that started last year, M. Jagadesh Kumar did not meet the JNUTA and JNU Students’ Union members even once despite requests.
“The campus is being run by him (Kumar) like a boot camp,” Kidwai said.
The Vice Chancellor was represented by JNUTA Vice President Amitabh Singh, who countered all charges by saying that there was no “inserting of minutes” in the Academic Council meetings and in all the cited instances of alleged violations he had duly “upheld the law”.
The teachers termed as unnecessary the Vice Chancellor’s action to abolish the Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment and replace it with an Internal Complaints Committee.
The mock trial was the first of the four planned to be conducted daily from Monday.
“JNU teachers will daily argue on seven charges levelled against Prof Jagadesh Kumar before a jury of 5-6 eminent persons drawn from the academia, law, social movements, and the arts. Jury members will comment on both daily and thereafter give their final submission,” the teachers’ body said in a statement.