JNU Fee Hike


Time and again, the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has come under the scrutiny of the masses. Right from media trials of the issues happening at the campus to the raising concerns about events taking place in the country, here is an extensive and expansive, multi-dimensional lens from a student studying at the University about the latest protests regarding the proposed fee-hike, taking place at JNU.

I am a student of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
Throughout the University’s turbulent history with opinions and ideas concentrated in political sphere with controversies emerging out of them, one fact remains constant.

Consistently ranked among the top universities in India and world, JNU has claimed its much deserved place in the academic arena. Rather than acknowledging my university as one of the best in the world, it is more often than not seen as a political ground; dominated by the left ideology. So for obvious reasons, any issue that originates here is put under the veil of political spirit.

On the 28th of November, the Inter Hall Administration called a meeting in which the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) was informed 15 minutes prior to it, via e-mail. Till the time the JNUSU and other students could make it, the hostel manual was passed.

Fast forward today, it’s almost been a month with students here, protesting against the draconian fee structure. I lay out some vital points for your better understanding of the ongoing strike and the triggering force behind it:

  • More than 40% of the students of JNU comprise of the students coming from humble backgrounds where their family income does not exceed more than INR 12000 a month. If the fee hike is to happen for real, they (40%) would be immediately wiped off the face of JNU.
  • JNU, by its very nature, has been known to out loud criticise the government and point out the fallacies that exist in the system. A hub for left wing ideas, as it is seen, it sure is to develop resistance from the right wing and its supporters. Hence, a political inclination is assigned here to a non-political protest.
  • The mainstream media, which is followed by the majority of the general public, has grown to become unreliable and is known to shift its ground; driven by politics, has been manipulating facts and showing them in a different and distorted light. However, there are a few media houses who put out straight facts before the public and show the actual situation of what’s happening in here. Many students who take admission here were of the same opinion before living in the campus and knowing the nature of the university. It’s simple: people will believe what is fed to them.
  • In JNU, the population of female students is greater than the male students. This promotes girl education and female literacy in a country like India, where patriarchy is still prevalent and people here come from the remotest of areas, breaking the shackles. This shows how the university attracts students from all over India, not from a particular section.
  • From the child of a tailor to the child of an IPS to even entrepreneurs, there is diversity in its true sense in our campus. We all sit down together as a community where it doesn’t matter what backgrounds we come from. Here, we are all equal.
  • Take the very basic example of our campus not having popular eateries like CCD, Subway, much like other colleges. This is because it creates a divide. People who can afford will visit these eateries, while people who can’t, simply won’t. To avoid any kind of divide where people lose their sense of equality is the primary reason our campus does not have fancy eateries. Everything on here is planned. This shows how the university has maintained its idea for years and how the new fee structure will shake the very basis of it.
  • Student activists and speakers here question the monetary privilege those in power get to ‘enjoy’. The construction of two hostels was underway which now is unheard of. It all boils down to one question: Where did the money go? The VC, this shows, is incompetent and JNU refuses to accept his idiosyncratic behaviour and asks for his immediate resignation. All the questioning that happens around here is the evident of how JNU is the center of all the intellectually stimulating debates and ideas that refuse to remain latent. How students here are to stay, exercise their rights, hold on to each other, collecting their existence into a string of unbreakable unity that fears no higher force.
  • The new Hostel Manual, that talked about curfew timings and Dress Code agitated the students all over the University. As people here come from all over India, coming from places we haven’t heard of, they’ve grown up in quite conservative environments with them not being allowed to step out of their houses at night and being expected to maintain a ‘decent’ dress code, JNU must have felt a better form of liberation. Here, we can roam around our massive campus at any given time safely, to any nook and corner. Students here wear whatever they want to because there are no confinements. One of the very few universities that allows girls to enter in the boys’ hostel. The new set of rules indeed contributed to the patriarchal culture. Though these set of regulations have been scraped, students demand a complete rollback on the fee hike, to this date.
  • The biggest myth about the ongoing protest is that the fee hike is from ?10 to ?300. Sorry to burst your bubble, but we already pay around INR 3000 a month as our mess bills. That will shoot up to around INR 7000 a month. It will include service charges, electricity and water bill, increment in admission fees, utility charges. JNU, after the fee hike, would be the most expensive central university in India. Affordable education? What’s that, again?
  • A partial rollback had happened a few days ago, which the students had out-rightly rejected, terming it a ‘lie’. A complete rollback is what the student community is fighting for, and will continue to do so.
  • JNU, known for its poster making culture, has always been very open to the idea of expressing agitation, emotions and opinions by penning them down on paper, colouring their views across the walls and exhibiting them for the world to see. The Freedom Square, which is the main administrative building, was taken by the students on one of the protesting days, which they painted the whole building in, making sure that their voices be heard, loud and clear.
  • The protests, as the general public knows, is not always about the ‘shows’ that attract news channels and media houses, with JNU again being the headline of the national mainstream media. No media house would show how peaceful our protests are, with students singing songs of revolution over a cup of chai and debates. Almost every alternate day, different centres of JNU organise this programme, that goes by the name ‘Guerrilla Dhaba’. Besides, every hostel organises their own cultural programme that includes students performing and discussing the implications and consequences of the new fee structure, and how it would affect their lives.
  • On the 17th of November 2019, students in huge numbers took to the streets of Delhi to march to the Parliament for their voices to be heard. A proper guideline was published a day before which clearly mentioned how to go about the march without disturbing and blocking the roads causing inconvenience to the public. The Police Forces, appointed in huge numbers, did not spare the peacefully protesting students and detained them in hundreds, laathi charging students so as to disperse them and break their unity. They even shut the three nearest metro stations so that they don’t escape, and no form of help is provided to them. In the process, many students got hurt who were not allowed medical help, too. Students who were detained mentioned how the police officers were treating them and particularly the female students. One word for this incident: shameful.
  • Seeing the critical conditions in the campus with academic activities being heavily hampered, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) forms a committee to listen to the concerns of the students. The meeting happens, we are promised a positive outcome soon. Fast forward a few days, nothing fruitful is gained out of the meeting. Administration, on the other hand, releases notices every other day appealing students to get back to classes and resume their academic work, retaining the normalcy of the campus. Students are in no mood to withdraw till they achieve what they are protesting for, day in and day out.
  • On the 25th of November, another notice is released that talks about slashing the fees (utility and service charges) for APL by 50% and BPL by 75% on the strong recommendation of the High Level Committee (HLC) set up by the administration. JNU Students’ Union and the others on University observing strike from Day 1, reject this revised fee structure wholly and completely. Not an inch back, as they say, students are hell bent on wanting their demands to be listened to. This move by administration is a ‘lollipop’ and a form of ‘bargain’, as students claim, and rightly so.
  • The inside story that majority of the people who comment on the JNU protests don’t know anything about: The meeting in which the new fee structure was passed, clearly cut the JNU Students’ Union out and failed to recognise the presence of the student body. Therefore, by this very nature, the meeting stands null and void.
  • JNU VC, has all the time in the world to spew venom against his own students on Twitter and news channels, but we haven’t heard from him now in a month. A VC who does not prefer dialogue with his own students is of no good. Hence, we are demanding his immediate stepping down from the post because he’s proven incompetent to run a university like JNU.
  • A fee hike has been observed in many colleges around the country, why only JNU is protesting, you ask? Think of the better question: Why is Education being sold as a commodity? Isn’t free education a right for all? Why are the students around the country okay with their fees being this high? Why are the students quiet, why are you quiet?


I’ve friends here who were laathi charged, and chased by the Delhi police in kilometres, on the day they were marching to the Parliament. They haven’t succumbed to the higher authoritarian wrath and still go out, participating passionately in all the protests. The enthusiasm to save their University from the evils of privatisation of education hasn’t been knocked down by ‘efforts’ of the Delhi Police and their cruel and disgusting tactics.

As JNU students say, you can lock them up and shut them down. But you can never shut out their ideas. The emotions of anger, agitation and pain that JNUites share with each other, I say no force is strong enough to bog them down.

I request you all to stop being so unfair to us and see beyond what is shown. Hear our story out. Save JNU, before it gets destroyed at the hands of the higher authoritarian body. I pity people who can’t see what gem of a university JNU truly is, where our ideas echoes out loud and that is what sets JNU apart from other universities.

Stand with JNU, because once it starts getting tarnished and eventually, destroyed, the nation will weep the death of an incredible university and it will be too late.

The author is a student, currently studying at the Jawaharlal Nehru University. A close observer of what is happening in, around and about the University, and the intense student politics at the Varsity, through this piece the authors tries to present various facts and issues of importance concern which need their due place in the public space. 

Feature Image Credits: Priyanshu Sinha for DU Beat

The agitation against fee hike at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) reached Delhi University (DU) when progressive student fronts performed protest demonstration and effigy burning at North Campus.

The movement against arbitrary fee hike in JNU has garnered support from educational institutions all across the country. After the inhumane brutality of police forces won, the JNU students protesting became national news, many organisations and bodies joined hands to bestow their support. Most recent in line are the progressive student bodies of Delhi University who conducted a protest march in North Campus on Wednesday which followed effigy burning of Delhi Police, Home Minister Amit Shah and Baba Ramdev, who made spurious comments regarding Periyar, Birsa Munda, Savitribai Phule, and B.R Ambedkar yesterday.

All India Students’ Association (AISA), All India Democratic Students’ Organisation (AIDSO), Pinjra Tod, Students’ Federation of India (SFI), Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS), Democratic Students’ Union (DSU) and other progressive collectives of DU organised this protest demonstration at Art Faculty from where the protesters circled a part of north campus. Chanting slogans of “Azadi” and “Halla Bol” along with placards condemning Delhi Police and Government Forces, the protesters walked past Campus Law Centre, Law Faculty and came back to Art Faculty where effigies of the were burnt.

“For the last one month, JNU students have been protesting for 999 percent fee hike and the introduction of a new hostel manual which is a step to push people from a deprived background, women, Dalits away from the University,” said Ankur Agraj, a second-year Law student at Campus Law Centre.

On the question of ABVP demanding the formation of a joint struggle committee for fee hike issue the AISA supporter said, “After all, ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad) is also a student organization. Their supporters will also be affected by this hike. But the ABVP wing of JNU has displayed a pro VC (Vice Chancellor) stand from the very beginning. It’s important for them to understand that it’s not about Left or Right. The institution comes before your ideology.”

Neel Madhav, a final year Journalism student said, “The time has come to burn all the educational institutions of this country. Because, the government has finally proved that knowledge, merit, academics, and art hold no value in this country. They have made it so evident that family of a king will hold kinship and a poor will rot as a poor coming from marginalized background will remain poor for whole of his life.”

The support came from teachers as well. Laxman Yadav, Professor at Zakir Hussain College addressed the protester after effigy burning. He raised questions about the whereabouts of Najib, who went missing from JNU last year. “Democracy is being assassinated in Kashmir and PM says everything is fine. The way Kashmir is being throttled, education will also be chocked to death,” he expressed.

Narrating a story on why it is important to fight against administrative cruelty, Laxman said, “When there was fire in a forest, the bird tried to control it. On asking why is she doing this when it is obvious that she won’t be able to extinguish it, the bird said that she knows that, but when the history of this forest will be written, they will tell that this bird at least tried to stop the fire.”

For more than 80,000 students in Delhi University, only 4,000 hostels are afforded. The movement at Jawaharlal Nehru University has raised a critical question for the lack of hostel facilities and high fee structure here at Delhi University.

Image Credits: Noihrit Gogoi for DU Beat


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Following a press briefing by JNUSU (Jawaharlal Nehru University Student’s Union), teachers of the varsity marched around the campus to bestow solidarity with students who faced the wrath of police forces on Monday in light of their protest against the arbitrary fee hike.

 A day after several  Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students were thrashed, manhandled and jailed for protesting against the fee hike, the varsity’s teachers association marched past the campus in solidarity with the students. The protest on Monday was marred with intense scuffle between protesters and police forces. Around 100 students who were detained yesterday have been released. Several students suffered injuries after government deployed 2000 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to contain the protest.

As the march began at campus’s main gate, teachers of the varsity started raising slogans such as “Fee hike waapis lo” (Revoke the Fee Hike), “JNU VC Ko Jaana Hoga” (The Vice Chancellor must go), demanding for the Vice Chancellor’s resignation.

“We are standing with students from the very beginning. Fee hike should not take place otherwise underprivileged students will lose the opportunity to study. If public education system collapses than people like us talking here won’t be in a situation to raise voices”, said Professor D.K. Lobiyal who teaches in the School of Computer and System Sciences.

On the question of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) forming a three member committee to look after the fee hike issue he said,  “The committee is saying that (Vice Chancellor) VC should talk to the students. So, MHRD had to formulate a committee for getting the Vice Chancellor in touch with students? Why is the Vice Chancellor there for?” Demonstrating his displeasure he went on to to bring into light that if it requires MHRD to instigate a conversation with students then what’s the need of Vice Chancellor in a University. He added “MHRD has legitimised our claim that this VC is incapable of running JNU.”

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Media flocked in the campus to cover the protest. In picture: N. Sai Balaji (ex-JNUSU president) talking about the issue with NDTV. Image credits: Priyanshu Sinha for DU Beat

Various media organisations had flocked in to cover the event which was preceded by a press conference by the JNUSU. Reconciling his chilling encounter with police yesterday, Shashi Bhushan Pandey, a student union councillor said, “I told them (Police) that I am visually impaired, so that they would spare beating me. But No! One of them hit me from the front and when I tried to flee, I was beaten on my leg. The boy who helped me and took me to the hospital was also attacked by the Delhi Police.”

The brutality on Pandey, a visually challenged student got the University’s Visually Challenged Students Forum to issue a notice condemning Delhi Police’s action towards students taking part in peaceful march demanding accessible and affordable education for all.


Teachers assembled near the main gate with placards in hand. Image credits: Priyanshu Sinha for DU Beat

Later on Tuesday, the JNU outfit of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) issued a statement  that condemned the JNUSU and alleged that the left led student union of making the issue their agenda leaving behind rest of JNUites who oppose their ideology. The statement said that as the hike affects every JNU students, their should be a joint struggle committee consisting students from all ideological background. ABVP, who holds no political representation in University’s Student Union rejected the high power committee set up by MHRD and demanded JNU administration to reclaim the 6.7 Crore Rupees that University Grants Commission (UGC) had promised to waive off as additional fee charges.

The protest against exorbitant fee hike entered its 21st day on Tuesday. The exponential hike increased room rent from INR 10-20  to 300-600 per month. An additional service charge of INR 1700 will surge the fee to INR 2,000-2,300 per month. This hike would make Jawaharlal Nehru University the most expensive Central University in India, surpassing even Delhi University whose average annual fees is Rs 40,000-55,000 . After dissatisfaction on a partial rollback by University’s executive council, the Student Union went on with their protest which has already witnessed the participation of huge number of students, many even from outside the campus flocking everyday to stand with the students.


Priyanshu Sinha 

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Feature Image Credits : Priyanshu Sinha for DU Beat

The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Fee Hike protest took a dramatic turn yesterday when Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) with thousands of students tried to march from the JNU Campus to the Parliament. As a result a heavy police deployment was put in place and around 100 students were detained, along with JNUSU President Aishe Ghosh.

JNUSU in its statement said that the march was a “way to appeal to lawmakers to fight on our behalf inside the floor of the house”. The Delhi Police along with CRPF had put in around 1,200 troops around the JNU Campus and in Central Delhi. Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) in its statement said, “barricading the campus to stop the students from taking out their planned march will thwart the students from exercising their constitutionally guaranteed democratic rights”. Before the protestors could reach the parliament, Delhi Police had enforced Section 144 in areas surrounding the JNU Campus and the Parliament. The march was first halted at Ber Sarai road wherein most of the detainments took place. From here the students initially started moving back, but after three hours by 3 p.m. they gathered around Safdarjung Tomb area, and  stated that they would not disperse until all of the detained students were released. Apart from this Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, as advised by Delhi Police, had to close Udyog Bhawan, Patel Chowk, Lok Kalyan Marg, and Central Secretariat metro stations on the Yellow Line. Along the way the protestors and the forces were locked in a constant struggle. The march saw use of violence by both sides like the breaking of barricades by the students, and baton charges by the forces. All the students detained were released by 9:30 p.m. which marked the end of the march. The effects of the protest could clearly be seen in the Parliament as questions were raised on the Bharatiya Janata Party Government during Zero Hour by Bahujan Samaj Party’s MP, Danish Ali.

The extensive protests have been organised since 1st November against the newly enforced Draft Hostel Manual by the IHF (Intel Hall Administration) which is the regulating body of JNU Hostels. According to the manual a host of new charges, from mess bills to water bills, were to be added while some charges were to be increased in the student fees which would increase the annual fee of a resident student in JNU from Rs. 8,000 to around Rs. 50,000. This extreme hike had caused a uproar by the not only JNUSU but also political groups like All India Students’ Association (AISA), Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), etc. Though students earlier claimed that the manual also mentioned rules relating to curfew timings and dress code but the JNU Administration via a notice on 1st November clarified that the manual housed no such rules. The Students’ Union also alleged that neither the Vice Chancellor nor anyone else from the Administration is ready for a dialogue with the students. Even though the protest has mostly been peaceful, but two events specifically have tainted the nature of the protest. Firstly, the vandalizing of Swami Vivekanand’s statue and writing of slogans such as,“Bhagwa Jalega” and “Long Live Fascism”. Secondly, confinement of the Associate Dean of Students, Prof. Vandana Mishra, by the Students for around 24 hours.

Seeing a such a massive opposition the Education Secretary via his Twitter handle tweeted that the fees has now been halved, and special provisions have been made for Below Poverty Line students. Still, JNUSU termed the step a gimmick and demanded a full roll back of the manual. Till now the JNUSU delegation after yesterday’s march has submitted their demands to the Ministry of Human Resource Develipmemt (HRD) after a meeting with GC Hosur, Joint Secretary of the HRD Ministry.

Image Caption: Image Credits:
Image Caption: The new proposed fee structure with BPL provisions. Image credits: Ritika Singh

Speaking to DU Beat, Surajit Mazumdar, Secretary, JNUTA, said, “The calling of the JNUSU delegation and the constitution of the 3 member committee itself shows us that the government acknowledges the failure of the JNU Administration. Secondly, the JNU Administration till now hasn’t even recognized the JNUSU, so even when the education minister wanted to meet the union the administration refused. JNUTA also hopes the committee will provides a fruitful solution. We have also put forward our demand that the VC should step down as he has time and again proved to be incapable of the post”. Ashutosh Singh, ABVP State Media In charge adds, “ABVP from the starting has been against the fee hike and we even put aside our ideological differences to protest with JNUSU and since they did not have roadmap for further actions we had to part ways after the first 13 days of the protest. We even have protested outside the UGC on 13th November which resulted in a very positive dialogue between us and UGC. ABVP also condemns the vandalizing of Swami Vivekanand’s statue as he is one of India’s greatest figures and disrespecting him is wrong. We have demanded strict action against those who did it”. The JNU Administration and JNUSU could not be contacted for a statement on the same.

Feature Image Credits: NDTV India

Aniket Singh Chauhan

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