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HPU’s Disabled Students Denied Reservation and Basic Facilities Despite Court Orders

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Disabled Students and Youth Association, Himachal Pradesh

Shimla– It is not less than an embarrassment for the Himachal Pradesh Government and the HP University that even disabled students are compelled to fight for their rights. The apathy of the system is such that these students are not getting any relief despite orders of the State High Court to reserve no less than five percent seats for disabled at higher educational institutes.

This indifference toward such students is apparent from the fact that the accessible library for the disabled students of Himachal Pradesh University, which was inaugurated by Chief Minister Jairam Thakur on July 22, 2019, doesn’t even have a washroom and students, especially visually impaired girls, are facing difficulties. It was revealed by the disabled students of HPU in a memorandum submitted to the Governor and Chancellor, Bandaru Dattatreya, on December 13, 2019.

It is not shocking then that the Chief Minister inaugurated a library facility for the disabled students without basic facilities because it was merely a formality performed in response to an order of the State High Court passed in a PIL filed by a disabled student, Banita Rana, in 2014.

Victims of this apathy on part of HPU’s administrative officials, the Disabled Students and Youth Association (DSYA), Himachal Pradesh,  approached the Governor. The Association alleged that the HPU Administration is blatantly violating not only the educational rights of the disabled students but also not following the orders of the State High Court issued in November 2018.

Research Scholars, Mukesh Kumar and Saveena Jahan, Convener and Co-Convener of DSYA respectively, alleged that the Registrar, HPU, Ghanshyam Chand, disregarded orders of the court to reserve five percent seats for the disabled students during admissions. He went on with admissions for the session 2019-20 without implementing the order in any of the courses, they alleged. The disabled students were also not given this reservation while allotting hostel facility.

A visually impaired student, Indu Kumari, native of Chamba, had filed a PIL, while hearing this petition on November 5, 2018, the court had directed all institutions of higher education to reserve five percent seats for the disabled students.

“Therefore, we dispose of this petition by directing that all institutions of higher education and other higher educational institutions receiving aid from the government in the State of Himachal Pradesh, shall not only reserve not less than 5% seats for persons with benchmark disabilities but said reservation to the extent of 5% shall be provided each time when the institution initiates the process of admission to academic courses,”

the court had directed in its judgement.

The Registrar was also a party in the said PIL, despite that, the Association said, the Registrar is not afraid of attracting contempt of court by not implementing the order.

Further, the Association also complained that the said accessible library lacks several basic and necessary facilities.

“This accessible library in its new shape was inaugurated by the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on July 22, 2019. The disabled students who come to this section of the library are still deprived of the necessary equipment including talking software, Internet (LAN) connection, sufficient compute-chairs, tables, newspapers, e-journals of different subjects, periodicals, good quality heater and curtains on the windows,”

The Association also alleged that a budget to the tune of Rs 5 lakh, which was sanctioned and mandated to purchase talking software for visually impaired students, is about to laps since the Registrar did not make any purchase.

The Association also alleged that out of a total of 17 computers installed in the accessible library, only four computers are in working condition and have the necessary software installed.

The Association also complained that a Junior Office Assistant (JOA), who was appointed in the library to assist the blind and other visually impaired students, was transferred on September 24, 2019. Since the transfer, no replacement was provided and the library is without a JOA for the last three months.

The students alleged that the Registrar is not paying heed to the directions of the Vice-Chancellor as well.

The Association urged the Governor to look into the matter and protect the legal rights of the disabled students.

The Association also requested to provide a recourse room for the visually impaired students in the varsity where they can access reading devices, make recordings and books in Braille.

Campus Watch

VC Doesn’t Understand JNU’s Intellectual Culture, Say HPU SCA’s former Office Bearers, Seek His Removal

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For HPU SCA Officer Bearers seek removal of jnu vc

Shimla-A delegation of Himachal Pradesh University’s former student leaders and elected office bearers of the Students Central Association (SCA) on January 18, 2020, submitted a memorandum to the President through Governor Bandaru Dattatraya at Raj Bhavan, Shimla to show their solidarity with the students and teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) amidst the current turmoil. The signatories alleged that the student agitation for fee rollback has been met with aggressive counter, wherein students and teachers of the University have been brutally assaulted, under the implicit support of the Professor M. Jagdish Kumar, Vice Chancellor, Delhi police and political forces whose masked goons unleashed violence on January 5, 2020.

Among dozens of students and teachers attacked with rods and bricks, Professor Sucharita Sen, Dr. Ameet Parameswaran, and Ms. Aishe Ghosh, President JNUSU, were seriously injured in the brutal organized attack. And, till date, no arrests have been made and to the contrary criminal cases have been filed against the JNUSU office bearers and other students, they said.           

They also said that JNU has been the second best ranked University in India, first being IISc Bangalore, by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), MHRD, for its knowledge generation, academic outputs, briefly, owing to five parameters viz. (i) teaching, learning and resources; (ii) research, productivity, impact and IPR (RPII), (iii) graduation outcome, (iv) outreach and inclusivity and (v) perception.

Apart from the contribution of JNU to the overall human resource development and contribution to the national development as is evident from these criteria, the last stated criterion, ‘perception’, is the most important in the present scenario wherein 24×7 propaganda machinery is working hard to defame this esteemed centre of learning, they said.  Its academic preeminence has again been affirmed recently as out of 32 candidates selected as IES Officers, 18 are alumni of JNU. Thereafter, the Union HRD Minister also had to state ‘JNU is Our Top University’, they added.

The memorandum said that along with this, it is not out of place to put here that JNU also has earlier been considered a prestigious University world around. It has kept alive the very spirit of the debate in Indian Parliament when the bill for its establishment was placed for discussion as in the Rajya Sabha on 1 September 1965 by the then minister of education, M.C. Chagla. During the discussion on the bill, Bhushan Gupta, MP, voiced the opinion that ‘….this should not be yet another university…and one thing that this University should ensure was to keep noble ideas in mind and provide accessibility to students from weaker sections of society.’ And since the JNU Act came into force on 22 April 1969, the students and the faculty of this University did not let the Indian Parliament down and hugely contributed to take this University to the top by way of a work culture unique in India.

Today, JNU is also known for its alumni who occupy important bureaucratic and ministerial positions in India including in the present central government, the memorandum said. In this backdrop, the functioning of Professor M. Jagdish Kumar, Vice-Chancellor, during his four years tenure and with focus on January 05, 2020, violent attack, on students and faculty, needs a serious look. He was selected as Vice-Chancellor by the then President of India by ignoring the HRD Ministry’s note on the appointment of a new V.C. for JNU that had a veiled warning that Kumar could be a misfit to run JNU. His functioning as VC has been detrimental to the growth of this University as comes out of his four years tenure and the recent incidents have made it obligatory that he should be sacked immediately being complicit in the mob attack on students and teachers on January 05, 2020, it said.

The signatories have given the following five reasons behind their demand to remove the JNU VC:

  1. For the past four years of his tenure, the Vice-Chancellor has been working to “change the character of the University” without weighing the outcome of his measures. He has an ideological framework and is trying to plant a pre-drawn action plan, which is leading to a confrontation with students and faculty members and is the basis of the recent unrest in JNU where he is not paying attention to the elected bodies, JNUSU and JNUTA. For him, a decision means ‘no discussion’. JNU has an intellectual culture and has always been anti-establishment, and he is not fit to understand that due to his ‘robotic approach’. He could not understand the inherent strengths of JNU which has a culture of open debate between peers, teachers and students, and dissent.
  2. Till date, he did not even bother to meet and see the injured students showing his biased behaviour to a particular group of students and JNUSU, while facilitating the other group of students. It is in the public domain now that Professor Kumar did not allow police entry into the campus while the masked goons were attacking the innocent students despite administration receiving panic calls of the students being attacked. Even a political party accused him of being the “mastermind” of the attacks and demanded his immediate dismissal and a criminal investigation against him and some faculty members who conspired with the attackers and the security company on the campus. Even, BJP stalwart Professor Murli Manohar Joshi, Ex-HRD Minister, has sought dismissal of Professor Kumar conveying to the powers that be that the rule of law and institutional credibility are supreme in a democratic country.
  3. The Vice-Chancellor should have learnt a lesson from the Wardens of hostels, where students were attacked, who quit their posts on moral grounds taking responsibility for failure to protect students, and resigned on moral grounds on the night of January 5th itself. During the last four years of his tenure as the Vice-Chancellor of JNU, he has caused more harm than good to the University mainly sticking to his style of functioning and his ideological leaning.
  4. He has been obstinate not to listen to the grievances and demands raised by the JNUSU. Despite the fact that students proposed “first step” towards resolving the deadlock that they were ready to register for the new semester by only paying the tuition fees and not the hiked hostel fees, Professor Kumar did not respond to their move. It is too inhuman for him not to see the injured students after the brutal attack.
  5. He did not take any pre-emptive steps to prevent the mob attack on the students and the faculty members knowing well before the incident that something serious is going to happen on the campus between January 4 and 5. Now, after all, that has happened, he did not take any post-incident steps to assuage the feelings of the aggrieved party. That firmly confirms his complicity in this whole incident, hence he should be sacked.

 

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Hamirpur’s Reena Among 100 Meritorious Students Invited to Watch Republic Day Parade from PM Box

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UHF Nauni Dr Reena Kumari

Solan-Dr Reena Kumari, a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Vegetable Science at the Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni, has been invited to watch Republic Day Parade 2020 from the Prime Minister’s Box at Rajpath, New Delhi.

She is among the 100 meritorious students selected from across the country by the Union Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD), Government of India to witness the event. The travel and lodging expenses are being borne by the MHRD. 

Hailing from a small village Kashmir in District Hamirpur, Dr Reena was the topper of her school in class 10 +2 and joined UHF in the year 2009. She completed her master’s and doctorate in the discipline of Vegetable Science under the guidance of Dr Ramesh K Bhardwaj and has worked on improvement and development of new varieties in cucumber. Dr Reena has scored 88.00 and 86.60 % marks in MSc and PhD programme respectively with a gold medal in her PhD programme.

She was the university merit scholarship holder during her graduation and post- graduation programmes. Besides, she has also published eight research papers, one book chapter, review paper and popular article. Dr Reena has qualified various examinations like JRF and SRF.

An ecstatic Dr Reena thanked the MHRD and the university and for giving her the once in a lifetime opportunity to witness the grand parade from the Prime Minister’s box. Dr Parvinder Kaushal, UHF Vice-Chancellor, senior officers and students of the university congratulated Dr Reena on her selection.

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SFI, ABVP Hold Protest at HPU Campus over JNU Attack

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jnu attack protest at hp university shimla

Shimla– The terrifying attack at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, on Sunday evening by a mob of masked assailants in which students and teachers were targeted equally have attracted criticism from students of several other universities across India.

The visuals showing rampage of a mob of masked men and women, bleeding students, and vandalized rooms flooded Twitter and other social media. The worst part of this incident is that police remained a mute spectator and let these masked men wreak havoc at JNU campus.

Not only students but teachers were also assaulted by these men, women. Teachers, who were trying to speak to media, were also heckled.

Questions are being raised on the intentions and efficiency of the Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, who controls the police in Delhi.  

Following this attack, on Monday, Student Federation of India (SFI) and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) staged separate protests at the Himachal Pradesh University campus, Shimla. Both organizations blamed each other for the attack.

While ABVP shouted slogans of desh ke gadaron ko, joote maro salon ko, SFI termed assaults on university students as a tactic to defame these institutes and establish dominance through violence.

Statements of both student organizations can be heard in the video below.

 

 

 

 

 

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