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JNU professors offer students places to stay after admin orders shutdown before Janata Curfew

JNU professors offer students places to stay after admin orders shutdown before Janata Curfew
Image for representational purpose only (Pic: PTI)

The Jawaharlal Nehru University suspended all activities on campus including hostel services and asked the students to leave within 48 hours. The notice, issued on March 19, gave the student's time till March 22 — the Janta Curfew Day — to leave the hostel. The Students' Union and the Teachers' Association have condemned the move calling it "irrational and callous". The teachers have also proposed that if a student faces trouble travelling and needs supplies or a place to stay, the professors would help them out.

The JNUTA said that they "would like to ensure that all feasible assistance is available to students who face a crisis because of the administration’s diktat". "The JNUTA will coordinate with the JNUSU and Hostel Committees in this regard. As part of that effort, the JNUTA has set up an electronic help desk (jnutahelpline@gmail.com). Any student facing specific problems should please send in all relevant details immediately to this id and the JNUTA will get back. Faculty members may also use this ID to inform JNUTA should they hear from any students of theirs who are in distress," said JNUTA President Dr DK Lobiyal.

The JNUSU pointed out that the directive of the Delhi government does not talk about suspension of hostel facilities but only academic and evaluation activities — which the JNU administration had already suspended. "Rather, the UGC had advised administrations to desist from any activities that might cause panice in this time of crisis," said a statement from the Students' Union. Trains have been cancelled across the country and that makes travel difficult. Not only that, the government directive have repeatedly asserted that it it dangerous to venture out but the administration still wants the residents to vacate. This is atrocious, said the students.

Samik Dasgupta, a final year student of Theatre and Performance Studies at the School of Arts and Aesthetics and a resident of Narmada Hostel said that the administration was probably aware of the appeal about Janta Curfew. "Which is why we have been ordered to vacate by tomorrow night. This administration doesn't care about the fact that community transmission has begun in India and they are putting our lives at risk, while claiming the Delhi government wants us to vacate hostels," he said, adding that his parents are over 70 and he cannot risk taking the Coronavirus back to them. "The faculty, the administration, the staff - everyone is staying on campus and hoarding stuff from markets inside JNU and outside in Munirka and Modern Bazaar in Vasant Vihar. I saw this happen today from 7 am, at the market centre in JNU. From today morning, if a student steps out of the campus and doesn't have an ID card on her or him, they are not being allowed inside," added the worried student.

There are more than 7,000 students at JNU and ones in their final year are worried that they won't be able to work if they have to vacate the hostels. "I am in the final semester of my PhD. The admin has given the vaguest assurance of an extension, while shutting down libraries. I am now losing my mind wondering where to go and carry on my writing. There was no necessity to shut down hostels," said Samik who also works as a caregiver for community animals on campus, as part of the animal birth control program. "Shutting down dhabas and sending us out will only ensure that the animal population in JNU's ecosystem is just left to die or hunt in the open. This will lead to increased man-animal conflict. From our history of doing this work for the last six years, we have seen the administration using empty campuses as an excuse to poison animals to death and tamper with the ecological balance as they deem fit. This will resume now and this I can't let happen at any cost," he added.

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