The 21-day lockdown imposed by the Modi government to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus has inconvenienced people across the country. Its latest victims are Delhi University’s (DU) hostel residents.
The Ministry of Human Resources and Development had issued guidelines to ensure that hostels remain functional, but some are not following suit. Students from the Mukherjee Nagar-based Ambedkar-Ganguly Students House for Women have alleged that they are not being let inside the hostel premises and had earlier been forcefully asked to leave.
“Nowhere to go, provost unmoved”
Amisha Nanda, a resident of the hostel, fought her way back in and told NewsClick that she managed to get in after showing the MHRD guidelines to hostel authorities. “I got in after many days of struggle with the authorities. I have shown them all the orders from the MHRD and told the authorities that many of us cannot go back home. If the other hostels are functioning, then why are we being treated like this? The authorities are brushing off all responsibility,” she said. This was not all. “The authorities had turned off the electricity. They were not providing me with food. It is only after other teachers put them under that I am being given food. Many others like me are stranded right now,” she said.
Students claim that the Provost, Dr. Anu G. Aggarwal, has instructed security guards to ensure that none of the students enter, and that they would be terminated if the order was not followed.
Amisha and a group of students had previously protested in the hostel premises over controversial statements made by hostel authorities about women’s bodies, their autonomy, and over “unjust hostel rules”.
Amisha said that she faces disciplinary action for the same and that authorities are harassing students by calling up their parents, adding to their woes.
Speaking to NewsClick, Anupama, a resident of the hostel and a research scholar said: “I have e-mailed, called and messaged authorities that I cannot stay anywhere else. Moreover, I am a research scholar with submissions due next month. We have paid a lot of money for hostel accommodation; then why can’t we access its services? We are extremely responsible and are ready to take all the medical precautions but we need to go back to the hostel as we have no other place to go. There are many others like me who are struggling.”
Earlier, on March 20, the hostel’s residents were made to vacate the premises and most had to find alternative or temporary residences nearby. This was before March 25, the day the lockdown came into place. The students say that they can no longer stay in temporary residences.
For the students, the focus of the struggle with the hostel authorities is to make the hostel functional. Students demand that appropriate arrangements should be made for the residents who wish to get back to the hostel even if there are only a few students.
NewsClick reached out to the hostel authorities for a response and the story will be updated as soon as it is received.
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