Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Wednesday saw opposing student groups taking out protests on campus. While some slogans were against each other, both had one common complaint – scholarships not being disbursed on time.
During its march in the evening, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) protested against the JNU administration with regard to violence at the scholarship section Monday – clashes had broken out between students from the outfit and security staff during their protest to demand the release of scholarships and fellowships, which led to injuries on both sides. Their primary demand was that administration apologise to students and staff for the violence.
The JNU Students’ Union, meanwhile, called for a march Wednesday night “against ABVP’s violence in the scholarship section” and “against impunity to ABVP goons by JNU admin despite repeated instances of violence by ABVP on campus”.
The demand to release long-pending scholarships and fellowships featured in both marches despite their differences. According to students, the issue of delays in the disbursal of scholarships is a long-standing one at JNU.
“I have been in the university since 2018, and it has been an issue the entire time. In JNU, BA and MA students get merit-cum-means scholarships and PhD students get non-NET scholarships monthly. The issue is that these are not released for months at a stretch. There are instances of students who have gone through entire master’s without getting scholarships. There is a big delay in disbursal process,” said JNUSU councillor Anagha Pradeep.
Vikas Paliwal, a member of the ABVP unit, has not received his merit-cum-means scholarship for five semesters. “I was doing my BA in German honours and got the scholarship only for my first semester. I have now completed my BA, and am going to start my MA next month,” he said.
In response to queries by The Indian Express, senior JNU officials stated that the delay is due to pendency caused by a financial embezzlement case “before the joining of the current administration”. “The tenure of the current administration started February 7, 2022. There was huge pendency to clear scholarships and fellowships of students owing to a case of financial embezzlement in the section. Accordingly, outsourced staff were replaced with permanent staff, newly deputed staff given training for quality work output, and a senior-level officer was appointed to supervise the work. The Ministry of Education was also requested to approve filling 727 vacant posts (almost 50% of the sanctioned strength) for quick disposal of pending work, including scholarships and fellowships of students and other sections. A large number of cases have already been cleared,” stated their response.