NEW DELHI -- Professors and students of Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi have expressed shock and outrage at accusations of being anti-national, and working to disintegrate India, levelled against them in the latest edition of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) mouthpiece Panchjanya.
Dismissing the allegations as "totally baseless," JNU Vice-Chancellor Sudhir Kumar Sopory told The Hindu that the university stood for academic excellence, cultural co-existence and national development.
"Several ex-students of the university are members of Parliament. Lots of our students are part of the bureaucracy. Our foreign secretary is a former JNU student. Also in the intelligence agencies, there are quite a few JNUites," said Sopory.
“They have made a great contribution in education, in overall policy making and in the growth and development of this country. That’s why I feel that the role of JNU should not be diminished by these kinds of statements," he said.
The latest edition of Panchjanya, accuses JNU students of hosting anti-national activities on campus, distorting Indian culture, and it alleges that pro-Naxal students' unions celebrated the killing of 75 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in an ambush at Dantewada in 2010.
"I often heard JNU professors discuss means and measures to undermine national unity and culture at events organized by anti-national organizations I then realized that JNU is home to a large chunk of anti-national groupings which have the singular aim of disintegrating India," writes the author of the article, who claims to have studied at JNU.
Former professors at JNU emphasized the absurdity of these allegations.
Professor Girijesh Pant, former Dean of the School of International Studies, recalled that JNU was one of the most active campuses during the Emergency. "Some of us went to jail for that. There’s a need to appreciate the character of this university in totality of it,” he told The Hindu.
S.D. Muni, Distinguished Fellow at the IDSA (Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses), a former professor of International Studies at JNU, questioned whether Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar is also anti-national?
“This is outrageous. Mr. Modi’s Foreign Secretary (S. Jaishankar) is a JNUite. Is he an anti-national?" he said.
Jaishankar has an M.Phil and PhD in International Relations from JNU, where he specialized in nuclear diplomacy.
A statement by JNU Students' Union (JNUSU) pointed out that they were leading a movement against the government's decision to discontinue non-National Eligibility Test (NET) fellowships for research scholars due to shortage of funds.
“We condemn the highly regressive comments by RSS made against JNU students at a time when the students are at the forefront of a national movement against government's decision to scrap non-NET fellowships,” said a statement by JNUSU.
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