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JNU Students Hit Roads, VC Desperate

As JNU Vice Chancellor Prof. M. Jagdeesh Kumar, who took over just two weeks before and blamed for his pro-RSS links is desperate to mitigate bad reputation already, the students refused to heed his call and hit the roads on Thursday taking a protest march from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar.

Meanwhile, jailed student leader Kanhaiya Kumar moved the Supreme court for bail as he said he was immortally feared for his life at the Patiala Courts where he said he was "violently assaulted". Visibly shaken and facing a "dire threat to his life", Kumar said he was afraid "to ask for bail in the trial court because of the atmosphere there." The Supreme Court will hear the bail plea at 10:30 a.m. on Friday.

Meanwhile, the Congress under Rahul Gandhi took a delegation to present their memorandum to the President of India at Rashtrapati Bhavan. President is the patron of all central universities. Otherwise, on record, President Pranab Mukherjee’s daughter Sharmishtha Mukherjee was also a former student of JNU.

Here is the full text of the memorandum:

"Respected Hon’ble President

As we submit this memorandum to you, the country is gripped in a serious crisis.

The scenes of utter lawlessness playing out on the premises of the court in the heart of the capital are an affront to the democratic ideals of this country. Journalists, students and teachers are being physically assaulted inside and outside the court premises by a BJP legislator and workers, while the Police look the other way and the government remains complacent and silent Despite a direct order from the Supreme Court to ensure adequate security outside Papa’s House Court, the government has refused to prevent attacks on journalists and students.

The Supreme Court Panel appointed to assess the situation was itself subjected to abuse and assault. Such lawlessness in defiance of a Supreme Court directive on two occasions by the same set of people some of whom are identified with the ruling dispensation on various fora cannot but be without the tacit support, encouragement or at best, the indifference of the ruling establishment. The government’s complete failure in managing tensions and restoring law and order and its refusal to protect the democratic rights of its citizens is a cause of deep concern to us.

The attack on the press appears to be designed to intimidate and threaten the fourth pillar of our democracy, to prevent them from doing their job without fear or favour This does not bode well for our democracy. It is unacceptable.

Unfortunately, the violence at Patiala House Court is not an isolated incident. Over the last few months, the NDA government has displayed a dangerous tendency of undermining democratic freedoms and crushing the voices of those who do not share their views. Last month, Rohith Vemula a PhD student at Hyderabad Central University was pushed to commit suicide after he was deemed anti-national merely for his association with the Ambedkar Students Association (ASA). Most worryingly such intimidation and violence is taking place with alarming regularity in our Universities, which are meant to nurture new ideas, encourage debate and discussion. Across the country, whether in JNU, in Hyderabad Central University, in FTII and other places of learning, students are being bullied and threatened, simply for holding views contrary to the ruling establishment

The Congress Party and its leadership condemn any expression of anti-nationalism outright. Those indulging in such behaviour must be identified and dealt with strictly. But we are here as representatives of all the young and vibrant students who love and believe in the founding ideals of our nation and our constitution. Their right to debate, dissent, criticize and express their views fearlessly must be defended.

As representatives of the people of India, we cannot stand by quietly as the government fails to do its duty by the people. We are here to place our concerns before you and request your assistance in ensuring that immediate action is taken to check the state of lawlessness and subversion of democratic rights. As the patron of Universities, we call upon you to protect their freedom and uphold the values that built our nation."

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