The Irony of HRD Ministry Ranking JNU India’s Second Best University, and Jamia Its 10th

Social Commentary

The Irony of HRD Ministry Ranking JNU India’s Second Best University, and Jamia Its 10th

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

Two of the most controversial colleges in the country, whose students have been vocal about their opposition to the CAA, and consistently labelled “anti-national” for their views, have now been declared among the top 10 universities in India, according to the rankings released by the central government on Thursday.

The report was released five months after the Delhi police was accused of attacking students inside the Jamia Millia University’s library, and allegedly stood as mute spectators as an armed mob destroyed property and attacked students on the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus in Delhi a few days later.

JNU has now been named second in the list of best universities in the country, while Jamia was given the 10th spot. The rankings were released by the National Institutional Ranking Framework under the government’s HRD ministry.

The Jamia Millia Islamia University was the epicentre of the CAA protests that were held across the country earlier this year. One of its students, Safoora Zargar, who was denied bail for a third time earlier this month, and is pregnant, has been in Tihar jail for three months for her alleged role in the protests.

The JNU campus, meanwhile, which had seen widespread protests over the appointment of a new vice-chancellor, as well as a hike in hostel fees, earlier this year, had also seen a spell of violence. Arrests are yet to be made in that case, five months down the line.

The university is also notorious for the “anti-India speeches” its students allegedly raised, which had made it the target of right-wing trolls across the country.

The university that ranked first in the list, meanwhile, was the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, while the Banaras Hindu University ranked third in the list of central universities. The NIRF takes into account criteria such as teaching, learning, resources, research, professional practices, as well as graduate outcomes.

With the two much maligned universities now being named among the top in the country, let’s hope that there are now some arrests made with regard to February’s violence on the campuses.