The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU) on Saturday said it will take out a torch march on December 23 to protest against the proctorial inquries initiated against students organising demonstrations on the university campus. The union would also start a signature campaign to spread awareness among students about the revised varsity manual that has restricted staging any form of protest in select areas on the campus, it added.
The JNUSU on Friday also announced its decision to start non-cooperation with the administration if their demands are not met before the commencement of the winter semester in 2024. The students' union has claimed that the administration has initiated inquries against them in old cases dating back to five years and has demanded rescission of all disciplinary actions against students.
Revised manual sparked the outrage
The revised Chief Proctor Office (CPO) manual released in November has received sharp criticism by students' organisations cutting across party lines for penalising protests in certain areas, among other stringent rules. Putting up wall posters and staging dharnas within 100 metres of the academic buildings at the Jawaharlal Nehru University can lead to a fine of up to Rs 20,000 or expulsion while any "anti-national" act will attract a Rs 10,000 fine, according to the new manual.
Various student unions have demanded the withdrawal of the CPO manual calling it "dictatorial" and "anti-student" and have submitted a memorandum to the vice-chancellor seeking action. "To resist this attack on the democratic functioning of the university, JNUSU along with other student outfits will hold a mashal juloos (torch march) on December 23 on the campus," JNUSU joint secretary Md Danish said while speaking to PTI.
"We will also start a door-to-door signature campaign to spread awareness about the CPO manual as many students are still unaware of the stringent curbs outlined in the manual," Danish added. He alleged that the administration is trying to ''cover up" the controversy stirred around the protest ban by saying that protesting on campus is allowed but only in designated areas. "Why is there a need to ban protest anywhere on the campus at all? It's the sole medium of students to let their voices be heard which is being strangled by the administration," he said.