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JNU professor quits govt panel citing ‘situation’ in university

  • Published at 09:45 am January 7th, 2020
Delhi police stands outside the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi on January 6, 2020 AFP

The professor, who resides on the JNU campus, said that his house was not attacked during Sunday’s violence but he witnessed the mob attacking people on the premises

A professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi has resigned from an Indian government-appointed panel that was established to review the country’s economic statistical data, Scroll.in reported quoting Business Standard on Tuesday. CP Chandrasekhar, who is part of the university’s Centre for Economic Studies and Planning department, resigned on Monday, a day after masked assailant’s unleashed violence at the university.

“I was persuaded that this government is not concerned about the robustness of India’s statistical system,” he said. “The JNU’s incident on Sunday has further undermined the faith in the system. It shows that we are now living in a different world and it’s hard to work with a government in which you have lost faith.”

The Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation had created the Standing Committee on Economic Statistics last month. It was led by former chief statistician Pronab Sen The committee, scheduled to meet for the first time on Tuesday, is expected to improve the data quality as concerns were raised about “political interference” in the statistical system.

Two statistical reports, on unemployment and another on consumer spending, had reportedly not been made public by the Centre earlier.

Chandrasekhar, who has been a part of important statistical committees, sent his resignation through an email around 9pm, local time on Monday. “I used to be part of several statistical committees set up by the government, but now, with the government bringing in the National Population Register, which is a statistical issue that will then be linked to the National Register of Citizens (NRC), I cannot be part of such an ‘umbrella committee’,” the professor told The Hindu.

In his resignation, Chandrasekhar wrote that it was unfortunate the autonomy of those in the statistical system had reduced due to political pressures, and that initiatives to “consolidate a well-designed system are being subverted.”

The professor, who resides on the JNU campus, said that his house was not attacked during Sunday’s violence but he witnessed the mob attacking people on the premises. He added that if this could occur in the university then it could happen anywhere else. “I have been at JNU as a student as well and never has such a situation arisen,” he said. “A masked mob ran riot with the police standing as spectators.”

A mob, allegedly comprising members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s youth wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, armed with sticks and hammers, attacked students at hostels in JNU on Sunday evening, leading to injures to at least 34 people, including faculty members.

Later on Sunday night, a group of right-wing activists sloganeering outside the university’s main gate heckled, abused and threatened several journalists who were reporting on the violence. Several eye-witness accounts and videos indicated that in most places, police personnel present at JNU did almost nothing to stop the violence and, in fact, allowed armed and masked goons to exit the university without apprehending them.

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