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JNU asks students residing in hostels to return home, union opposes

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New Delhi: The Jawaharlal Nehru University (
JNU) Monday “strongly advised” students “stranded and residing” in its hostels to
return to their native places as special trains and some intrastate bus services have started following relaxations in the COVID-19 lockdown.

The advisory led to a fresh confrontation between the students’ union and the administration.

The Students’ Union opposed the circular, saying the university was deliberately putting students’ lives and safety at risk.

However, the university said some “self-proclaimed” student leaders always make it a point to oppose any advisory that comes from the administration and give an ideological colour to it.

In a circular, the Dean of Students, Professor Sudheer Pratap Singh said the university had issued communications in March too, informing students about the closure of the institute and advising them to
return home.

“However, many students requested to stay back in hostels at that time due to non-availability of public transport during the lockdown,” the circular said.

It stated that the Railways has now begun running some special trains and around 200 more trains will be made operational from June 1.

Intra-state bus and taxi services have also been started by state governments, it said. Moreover, some state governments have made transport arrangements for the
return of students, it said.

“Further, as per the Ministry of Home Affairs and Delhi government guidelines issued from time to time, the university has announced that students can
return to the campus on or after June 25 and till then all academic activities are closed.

“This is to underline that the Government of India updates daily about the COVID-19 pandemic situation. At present, the number of cases in Delhi is increasing swiftly day by day,” the circular said.

“Keeping the facts in view, all students who are stranded and residing in the hostels are, hereby, strongly advised to
return to their hometown and come back after the opening of the university,” it added.

The students’ union condemned the move in a statement.

“Students who have stayed back on the campus have weighed the risk of staying on the campus versus travelling. At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic must unite us all, these moves of the administration are clearly jeopardizing not only the safety of students but the fight against COVID-19 itself,” they said.

The university said its advisories are always depicted as “diktats” by the habitual student opponents.

“It also needs emphasis that it is reprehensible and inexcusable to discourage willing students who would like to go home,” it said.

In addition, when the administration has begun to install CCTVs at public places, including the hostel gates, yet again disruption has been organised by a handful of self-motivated student leaders, it added.

It is extremely important to monitor outsiders coming into hostel premises for the safety of the students and the campus life. But the “old bogey of privacy” is being raised even though the CCTVs are being installed at the gates and not the interior of the hostels, it added.

The students’ union has also been opposed to the installation of CCTV cameras calling it a violation of their privacy.

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