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Romila Thapar letter controversy at JNU: Teachers body says, politically motivated, demands apology from admin

Prime News, Nation, (New Delhi), September 4:-The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association on Tuesday accused the varsity administration of spreading “blatant falsehood” on its letter to historian Romila Thapar asking her to submit her CV and demanded that it immediately retract such letters sent to 12 professors emeriti, besides tendering personal apology.

The JNU administration’s decision to ask historian Romila Thapar to submit her CV for assessment for her continuation as professor emerita had drawn sharp criticism from various quarters with JNUTA terming it “politically motivated”, following which the JNU registrar on Monday said that there are 11 others who have also been asked to submit their CVs.

The university had said it was done with the objective of ascertaining Thapar’s availability and willingness to continue her association with the University and not to assess her for continuation. The JNUTA on Tuesday released the letter sent by the varsity to Thapar, saying it was doing so to counter “such blatant falsehood”.

It noted that the subject line of the “offensive letter” read, ‘Assessment of Past Work of Professor Emeritus in Jawaharlal Nehru University for the committee to decide on continuation’. This “is all the evidence needed to expose the true intentions of the JNU administration”, the JNUTA said in a letter.

“The JNUTA finds it laughable that the current JNU administration thinks that confessing to an insult on a larger scale counts as a defence. …by casting its net wide across several Professors Emeriti, the JNU Registrar has initiated a process of bringing JNU’s past before its Executive Council, so that it can proceed to undo it entirely,” the JNUTA said.

The body demanded that all such letters to Professors Emeriti issued by the JNU Registrar be immediately retracted, any review of their performance put to an end, and a personal apology be tendered to each of them.

JNU registrar Pramod Kumar had said on Monday that Professors H S Gill, C K Varshney, SD Muni, Ashok Sanjay Guha, Asis Datta, R Rajaraman, Romila Thapar, Yogendra Singh, D Banerji, T K Oommen, Amit Bhaduri and Shiela Bhalla had been sent letters by the varsity administration as they attained the age of 75 before March 31, 2019.

After JNUTA’s criticism, the university had said it was following its ordinance “in letter and spirit” in the appointment of professor emeritus at JNU.

“As per the ordinance, the university is required to write to all those who have attained the age of 75 years to know their availability and willingness to continue their association with the university. Letters have been written only to those emeritus professors who fall in this category,” it said.

The HRD Ministry on Monday clarified that there was no move by JNU to discontinue anyone’s professor emeritus status and only the standard procedures were being followed.

-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)

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