New Delhi, March 14 (IANS) The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers Association (JNUTA) on Monday awarded the annual Irom Sharmila scholarship to the JNU students’ union and posthumously to University of Hyderabad research scholar Rohith Vemula.
“The 2015-16 Irom Sharmila scholarship has been jointly awarded to Rohith Vemula posthumously of the Ambedkar Studies’ Association, Hyderabad Central University and JNUSU represented by its president Kanhaiya Kumar and general secretary Rama Naga,” said JNUTA president Ajay Patnaik.
Sharmila, who has been on a fast since November 2000, continues to protest against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. The university faculty in 2012 started a scholarship in honour of her dedicated and non-violent fight for democracy. The scholarship of Rs.50,000 is awarded to any postgraduate student from Delhi who comes from an area with internal armed conflict or has suffered under a black clause.
A sum of Rs.25,000 was given for Vemula and the rest was given to the JNUSU leaders.
“The struggle which started in JNU, its foundation was created in University of Hyderabad. If we hadn’t started this struggle for justice for Rohith, then may be these sedition charges wouldn’t have been required,” Kanhaiya Kumar said.
“We are not going to remain silent anymore. We’ll fight for our democracy, for the Constitution… This amount will be used for the fight to claim democracy,” he added.
However, JNUSU joint secretary and ABVP member Saurabh Sharma expressed unhappiness on the coveted award being given Kanhaiya Kumar who is currently out on bail.
“It’s shameful and condemnable that JNU, a public institution that runs on taxpayers, is used as a front for anti-national elements and one of the chief perpetrators of the anti-national event at JNU, Kanhaiya Kumar is being felicitated.
“In the case of Kanhaiya Kumar, a student leader, who openly supported people glorifying Afzal Guru who attacked the Indian parliament, is given a scholarship in the name of Indian democracy and Constitution,” Sharma said.