JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) has won the annual Visitor’s Award for the ‘Best University’, 2017. Dr. Deepak Pant from Central University of Himachal Pradesh won the Visitor’s Award for ‘Innovation’ while the Visitor’s Award for ‘Research’ has been jointly won by Dr. Shyam Sunder from Banaras Hindu University and Prof. Niranjan Karak from Tezpur University.
The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee will present the Visitor’s Awards for the year 2017 at a function to be held at Rashtrapati Bhavan on March 6, 2017, as part of the ‘Festival of Innovations’. President Pranab Mukherjee had announced institution of these awards in 2014 with the aim of promoting healthy competition amongst Central Universities and motivating them to adopt best practices from around the world in the pursuit of excellence.
The Visitor’s Award for ‘Innovation’ will be given to Dr. Deepak Pant, Department of Environmental Science, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Central University of Himachal Pradesh for development of a reactor for direct conversion of waste plastic to LPG in small scale.
The Visitor’s Award for ‘Research’ will be presented jointly to Dr. Shyam Sunder, Department of Medicine, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University for his work in the area of diagnosis and treatment of Indian Kala-azar and Prof. Niranjan Karak, Department of Chemical Sciences, Tezpur University for development of renewable resource based bio-degradable hyper-branched polymer nano-composites as self-cleaning, self-healing and bio-compatible smart sustainable futuristic material.
The ‘Best University’ will receive a Citation and Trophy while winners of Visitor’s Award for ‘Innovation’ and ‘Research’ will receive a Citation and cash award of Rs. one lakh.
But JNU students are unhappy, again:
A petition floated by Mohit P. has floated a petition to the President of India, and has demanded that the Visitor’s award be given to a delegation of JNU community and not to the Vice Chancellor of JNU Professor M Jagadesh Kumar.
The petition says that JNU VC “doesn’t deserve to receive the award on behalf of the entire JNU community.”
It further says:
JNU has witnessed unprecedented attacks and crackdowns on all these values, ever since Prof. M Jagadesh Kumar took over as Vice‐Chancellor of JNU.
Within 13 days of his joining, the campus witnessed an unprecedented crisis with Delhi Police being given a free hand to raid the campus and arrest student activists. The VC did not even demand to see the evidence or any warrant before allowing such action. Threatening and intimidating methods were used against students and teachers alike. The security guards were instructed to record JNU’s iconic post‐dinner public meetings or any other cultural programs and even academic activities.
The petition also states that the highest number of notices ever served to student activists was in the past one year, including former and current Union office bearers at each instance of protest.
A fellow student Najeeb went missing after being assaulted by students and outsiders belonging to the ABVP and in a brazen show of political partisanship the VC stood in protection of his assailants, leading to an atmosphere of impunity and further assaults. No one has forgotten how the VC, while omitting the fact of the assault on Najeeb, called him an ‘accused’‐ a term he had to withdraw later on.
It also hits out on the JNU VC and notes:
Generations of students and faculty members have striven to make JNU what it is known for today. One year into the office, the current VC has proved that he is in no way interested in upholding JNU’s legacy of excellence and inclusion; on the contrary, he has expressed deep contempt for and has actively worked to undo all those cherished features which this university stands for and is known for today. We believe that Prof M Jagadesh Kumar doesn’t and can’t represent the egalitarian vision of JNU and, therefore, is not suited to receive the ‘Visitor’s Best University award’ which is a testimony to the collective vision and efforts of the JNU community.