The Jawaharlal Nehru University administration on Thursday alleged that a group of students broke into the central library and clashed with the staff there following which an FIR has been registered with the police.
The varsity alleged that the students have been occupying the library for the last two days.
The students’ union, however, accused the varsity administration of using criminal intimidation against students and demanded that they withdraw the FIR and reopen the library which has been closed for a long time.
According to the police, the incident took place on June 8 and based on a complaint from the varsity’s chief security officer, a case was registered on Wednesday.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Southwest) Ingit Pratap Singh said ”Based on the complaint, a case was registered under section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code, Delhi Disaster Management Act and prevention of damage to public property.” No arrests have been made in the case so far, police said, adding that a meeting between the students and chief librarian of the varsity was also held in this regard.
In a statement, the varsity said, ”This (incident) has caused health risk for the library staff and even other students residing in the hostels, since these unruly students return to hostel for lunch/dinner or other purposes.” The varsity said ”a group of students scuffled with the security staff, broke open the side glass door of the B R Ambedkar Library, entered the main reading room of the building on June 8 and have occupied the space since then”.
It added that the students did not vacate the library building even during the night.
”When no amount of persuasion by the librarian and the security personnel convinced these students against violating the law and COVID-19 guidelines, the JNU Security Office lodged a police complaint in view of the seriousness of the issue. ”It has been found that these students do not even use mask or follow other COVID-19 related guidelines,” the varsity statement said.
The curfew imposed by the Delhi Government is still in place and no new guidelines have yet been announced regarding resuming normal academic activities, it said.
”The chief proctor office in the mean time has been tasked with taking necessary disciplinary action against these students as per the university rules,” it said.
The students occupying the space are not permitting the library staff to sanitise the library for making it safer for students who will use the library after restoration of normalcy, it said.
”All these students are hereby instructed to vacate the library immediately,” it said.
The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) demanded that the administration must reopen the library and restart library services at the earliest.
It also said the varsity administration must withdraw the FIR, and focus on actual issues that are faced by the JNU community.
”We also extend our solidarity with the students named in the FIR and demand that the JNU administration and the Delhi Police must immediately withdraw the false complaint. The university administration should focus on solving the numerous issues plaguing the students instead of hounding them for demanding a place to study.
It should ensure that all stakeholders are vaccinated and focus on fully reopening the university, instead of targeting and intimidating students,” it said in a statement.
The students’ body accused the varsity administration of using the pandemic as an excuse to push forth its ”anti-student” agendas.
The JNU E-Library and Remote Access, accessible through the JNU Library Website, has been non-functional for months, the JNUSU said, adding that at such a time, some students made use of the Central Library Reading Rooms for studying, which is the intended purpose of the said rooms.
”For this, the JNU Administration has filed an FIR with the Delhi Police. The JNUSU strongly condemns the tactics of criminal intimidation used by the administration and reiterates its demand for provision of COVID-19 vaccination to all members of the JNU Community, and the safe reopening of campus at the earliest,” it said.
While strenuous academic activities and exams have not been suspended by the administration, students are forced to work and finish their academic engagements without access to the library, documentation units, laboratories and reading rooms, it said.
”JNU administration has shown no concern towards students living in hostels without access to water and proper sanitation, but displays great initiative in releasing circulars and threatening students,” they alleged.