The Jawaharlal Nehru University saw low turnout for the registration process on Thursday, as the students’ union continued its boycott owing to the hike in the rent of hostel rooms and dilution of reservation norms for SC, ST, OBC, and Physically Challenged students in allocating the hostel rooms. The deadlock between the students and administration over a slew of issues had intensified soon after the administration passed the Inter Hall Administration manual on October 28 last year. Soon after passing of the manual, the students waged a struggle for rollback of the manual. However, the struggles was dealt with brutal lathi charge by Delhi Police personnel several times following which, students sustained severe injuries.
As a result of the students’ struggle, the administration has scrapped provisions like library and hostel timings and the controversial utility charges. The students are now demanding clarity over other contentious clauses. Aishe Ghosh, president of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union, said that the administration violated its own terms when it released new circulars in midst of the talks. It said, “These circular are imposing fee hikes, initiating a sham process in the name of registration and are justifying the fee hike through a farcical message… There are problematic provisions regarding exorbitant fines for not paying the mess bill on time (even as the administration itself cannot dispense fellowships on time) and even hostel eviction for failure to pay on time. There are fines for keeping electronic devices without specifying what they are and tomorrow, they can impose fines even for laptops that we use for research purposes.”
She added, “There is no clarity on whether the Utility and Service Charge has been withdrawn. The MHRD Record of Discussion uses the phrase ‘Until Further Orders’. There has been no agreement on whether the imposition of utility and service charges stands cancelled. What if this administration imposes it the very next month?”
The Union also accused the administration of doing away with the reservation norms which ensured that the candidates from the marginalised sections got hostel rooms as per the existing rules. The statement noted, “The concept of reservation in hostels and priority hostel allotment for SC, ST, OBC, and PwD is being abolished. It was contained in an annexure in the existing hostel manual but not there in the illegally passed draft manual.”
A student, who requested anonymity, told NewsClick, “The administration has deleted the annexure from the hostel manual which clearly mandated administration to allocate rooms to the candidates from the marginalised sections on a priority basis. Since the university gets funds from different ministries for these sections, the students used to get rooms as per the rules. I am afraid that more than 300 students will suffer if the administration does not provide clarity over these issues.”
The union members alleged that the administration has initiated proctorial enquiries against many students on whimsical grounds. Ghosh said, “The administration is using false and ludicrous charges and is planning to go on a vindictive spree. Students have been suspended, ordered to be evicted and declared out of bounds on spurious charges. We reiterate that everyone must be allowed to register and there cannot be any punitive action against students for an agitation in which the entire JNU community has participated to save the character of this university.”
Calls by NewsClick to the registrar for comment remained unanswered.