JNU Professor Nivedita Menon issued notice for appearing in student protest

The freedom of expression has been challenged yet again at JNU. Nivedita Menon, a professor at the School of International Studies was issued a caution notice for addressing students at a protest meeting outside the university’s admin block this afternoon. The letter has been issued by JNU Registrar Dr. Pramod Kumar.

The letter finds her guilty of violating the “Norms of Functioning for the components of the University Community”. It seeks disciplinary action against the professor for further violation of the university rules and regulations.

The letter reminds gheraos, sit-ins or any other type of gathering which disrupts the academic and administrative functions of the university are strictly prohibited. It also states hunger strikes, dharnas or any other peaceful means of protest shall be carried in a restrained manner at least 20 metres away from the administrative and academic complexes.

Nivedita Menon is a well-known feminist and recognised for her progressive stands on several issues. She came into the limelight for her statement early this March when she stated, “India had illegally occupied Kashmir”.

The protest cum public meeting was in solidarity with the twelve JNU students suspended citing allegations of physical violence to disrupt the academic council meeting. Speaking to inUth, Mulayam Yadav, a suspended student denied the allegation stating the Vice Chancellor was absent when they entered the meeting room.

In her address, Menon highlighted the Vice-Chancellor treating the “Academic Council (AC) as his personal fiefdom” and cleared the air about the alleged physical violence afflicted to disrupt the AC meeting. The suspension of the students followed by the show-cause notice to Menon seeking disciplinary action for appearing in student protests, highlights how JNU VC is suppressing the freedom of speech and dissent in the campus. The VC’s mutually incompatible actions and statements have made his case terribly loose. Perhaps why he is seeking suspensions and imposing restraints as a viable defence mechanism.