A day after some students were suspended for "indiscipline", authorities at the Jawaharlal Nehru University were compared to Dronacharya - the mythological preceptor from Mahabharata who had asked Ekalavya, a low caste archer threatening to outperform the Pandavas and the Kauravas, to cut off his thumb as guru dakshina.
On 27 December, the JNU administration suspended the students and withdrew their hostel facilities for allegedly disrupting an Academic Council meeting to protest new admission norms.
They were demanding that the Academic Council reconsider its decision to "adopt" a UGC gazette notification, dated May 2016, whereby interviews became the sole criterion of admissions to MPhil and PhD admissions.
The Academic Council approved a University Grants Commission notification by which an institution can give 100% weightage to viva during admissions while making entrance test for PhD and MPhil as only "qualifying" criterion. Students allege that the move will lead to discrimination.
A statement from the university alleged that the students "broke open the latch of the meeting room door" and came inside and "shouted at" the VC. A handful of faculty members also tried to disrupt the proceedings.
According to a report in the Telegraph, in protest of the suspension, the students gathered in front of JNU's administrative block and raised slogans outside vice-chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar's office: "Dronacharyas campus chhodo. Bramhanvad ho barbaad (Dronacharyas leave campus. Let Brahmanvad be destroyed)," they chanted.
The suspended students belonged to Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students' Association (BAPSA), Democratic Students' Union (DSU), Students' Front for Swaraj (SFS) and United OBC Forum.
The Registrar, Pramod Kumar, said that a proctorial committee has been set up to inquire into the matter and that the students would need to depose before it.
The JNU Students' Union (JNUSU) "condemned" the move saying it will "resist" the suspension orders at all costs.
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