Tension is palpable at the JNU campus now that the much-awaited reappearance of the absconding students has happened. It’s been 24 hours since the seven students returned, and everyone is wondering how the VC will act this time.

The students – including Umar Khalid, Anant Prakash Narayan, Ashutosh Kumar, Rama Naga and Anirban Bhattacharya – face charges of sedition for allegedly raising anti-India slogans at a February 9 event. 

On Sunday night, the Delhi police rushed several police parties to JNU after hearing of the students’ return, but was not allowed inside the campus and have been camping outside JNU gates since Sunday midnight.

Even as the students have clearly stated that they won’t refuse arrest if Delhi police enters campus to arrest them, all eyes are on the university’s vice chancellor Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar. Will he again allow the police to enter the premises?

Talk to anybody – from the students to the security staff – all you find is a wave of uncertainty and confusion. Clearly, the university management is in a dilemma as to what to do next. But so far, there has been no official word from them on this.

Students pin hopes on VC

Some feel he will repeat his act. “He [Jagadesh Kumar] did it in the case of Kanhaiya and it might happen again in the case of seven students who resurfaced on the campus yesterday,” Satish (name changed), a JNU student told ScoopWhoop.

Some students said the delay in any police activity so far shows ‘serious thinking’ on the part of VC, who wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side of the students again.

Some think the V-C needs to “restore his lost credibility”.

“It would be hard this time” said Neeraj, a JNU alumnus. “But I also think if VC takes a tough stand this time, it might restore his lost credibility in the eyes of JNU students and teachers to some extent.”

“It’s a chance for him to side with students or go with the wind,” another JNU student remarked. 

Teachers’ body continues agitation

Meanwhile, Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers Association (JNUTA) and the JNU students’ union on Monday jointly stressed that the VC should actually follow his peer at Jadhavpur University after alleged ‘anti-national’ slogans were raised on the campus. The latter had simply failed to identify sloganeering students, thus preventing any police action.

While reiterating its demand of restructuring and expanding the university’s internal inquiry committee to probe the February 9 incident on JNU campus, the JNUTA also asked the VC and the Delhi police to drop all the charges of sedition and criminal conspiracy against JNU students including Kanhaiya Kumar. 

The teachers’ body appealed to the administration to maintain a conducive atmosphere to help students appear before the panel.

JNUTA president Ajay Patnaik told Scoopwhoop, “Even legal luminaries have said that the sedition charge cannot be imposed frivolously, that too on students for mere shouting of slogans. We want the university to take a stand and get these charges dropped.”

JNUTA has also called for the immediate removal of the university’s officiating Registrar Bupinder Zutshi. 

Feature image source: twitter