Vadodara (Gujarat)/Panchkula (Haryana) [India], Jan 12 (ANI): Over 200 academicians on Sunday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene in the protests taking place in various educational institutions across the country, including the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi so that a cordial atmosphere is restored on the campuses as soon as possible.
"The Leftists are spreading rumours. Recently, I saw in a TV interview where somebody said that if you are bringing (persecuted) Hindus (in India), then you will definitely evict the Muslims. What kind of logic is this? By spreading lies, an atmosphere has been created where education is not being given attention and is shown in poor light. This can be harmful to the country," Sardar Patel University (SPU) Vice Chancellor Prof Shirish Kulkarni told ANI in Vadodara.
Kulkarni along with the other academicians has written to the Prime Minister expressing concern over the 'prevailing atmosphere' in educational institutions, stating that 'a disruptive far-left agenda is being pursued in the name of student politics.'
"It seems that the leftists are attempting to shut down education (in JNU) through these tactics. They should be stopped and prohibition should be put on them. Education should not be stopped. Education should remain independent. They can block roads and do other things, but education should never be stopped. That is why we decided to write a letter to the Prime Minister in this regard," said Prof Kulkarni.
Echoing similar sentiments, former Himachal Pradesh University Vice Chancellor Prof Sunil Gupta said that if the protests in the JNU do not end soon, the name and fame of the varsity will be lost.
"The main purpose of writing a letter to the Prime Minister that he should take strict cognisance about the happenings in JNU, which has taken place for the last two to three months. There should be a dialogue with the student organisations or a certain path should be there so that the protests are over. It must end very soon or else the name and fame the JNU has earned over the years will vanish," Gupta told ANI in Panchkula.
"It is very evident that the strategy which they are adopting are being supported by the Left people. To a certain extent, it may be supported by Congress as well. The Congress has lost its ground and they are trying to revive themselves through educational institutions," he said.
The professor said that when politicians go to JNU and address the students, they motivate them to continue their protest instead of pacifying them.
"What is the purpose? The purpose is to increase their political establishment so that they are always in the scene. I have witnessed this at my university. The Left has a strategy to scare the people and administration. If they fail, they indulge in hooliganism. This affects the students studying in institutions and taking admission," he said.
"In this regard, we have written to the Prime Minister that measures must be taken and this deadlock is ended and the academic atmosphere is restored in the campus," said Gupta further.
In the letter, the academicians stated in the letter that the recent agitations have led to the disruption of academic activities and day to day functioning of these institutions and university campuses are being turned into "islands of ossified worldviews."
"The recent turn of events on the campuses from JNU to Jamia, from AMU to Jadavpur alarms us to the deteriorating academic environment due to the shenanigans of a small coterie of left-wing activists," the academicians have said in the letter, accessed by ANI.
"This has led to the disruption of academic activities and day to day functioning of these institutions. The attempt to radicalised the students at a young age is stifling free-thinking and creativity. It is turning them more into political activists than learners exploring the new boundaries of knowledge. The puritan moral certainty in the name of ideology is leading to the cultivation of intolerance against pluralism and individual liberty," reads the letter.
"From the high seat of debate and discussion, university campuses are being turned into islands of ossified worldviews," adds the letter, which carries the name of over 200 academicians.
The top academicians and vice-chancellors also said that such things were not only leading to violence between different sections of students but also intolerance against the teachers and intellectuals.
"It has become difficult to organise public talks or to speak independently due to the censorship imposed by left-wing politics. Strikes, dharnas and shutdowns over maximalist demands are common in left strongholds. Personal targeting, public slandering and harassment for not conforming to the left ideology is on increase," says the letter.
They also said that poor students and those from marginalised communities are the "worst sufferers of this kind of politics" and lose out on the opportunity to "learn and build a better future for themselves".
"They also lose out on the freedom to articulate their own views and alternative politics. They find themselves constrained to conform to the majoritarian left politics," the letter further says.
"We appeal to all democratic forces to come together and stand for academic freedom, freedom of speech and plurality of thoughts," the letter concludes. (ANI)