India’s Minister for Education Ramesh Pokhriyal urged students on Tuesday to withdraw their demand for the resignation of Jawaharlal Neru University's Vice-Chancellor, as their basic demand that their boarding costs not be raised "has been met".
“The basic demand of JNU students on the issue of the dormitory fee hike has been met and calls for the removal of the university's Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar are now not reasonable,” Minister Pokhriyal told the news agency Press Trust of India.
Jaishe Ghosh, president of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU), had moved Delhi High Court against amendments to the dormitory manual, including the fee hike.
Ghosh had earlier said that the JNU Students' Union stands on its demand for the removal of vice-chancellor, holding him responsible for attacks on students and teachers on the campus on 5 January.
A few masked miscreants barged into the college campus in the evening of 5 January and assaulted students and teachers with iron rods and batons.
Several students had to be rushed to hospital after they suffered severe injuries. The students alleged that the culprits were affiliated with Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the Hindu nationalist cultural organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
Calling the vice-chancellor a “perpetuator of violence at the university”, the JNU’s students' union had accused him of allowing the attack on students and teachers associated with the communist parties on the campus and demanded his resignation.
However, the vice-chancellor categorically denied the allegations and said: "We don't differentiate students into camps, all students are the same for us. When there is a possibility of violence we will definitely act and we did."
A day before the violence (4 January) took place, the University administration had alleged that some students, reportedly associated with the communists, were preventing students from registering for the winter semester in protests against the fee hike.
Police complaints were registered against JNUSU president Ghosh and several others for vandalising university property and deterring students from registration.
Over this, Minister Pokhriyal said, “Over 80 percent of the students have already registered for the winter semester. The students who want to study should not be disturbed. If our universities must excel in a global competition, we need to rise above these issues."
Meanwhile, the decision to roll back the fee hike was taken after a series of meetings with the JNUSU and the administration. The Education Ministry directed the University Grants Commission (the organisation responsible for maintaining the standard of education in universities in India) to fund the utility and service charge.