JNU students claim that varsity administration has imposed 'curfew' on campus a day after post-poll violence

New Delhi: A day after alleged violence between members of the RSS-affiliated ABVP and Left members in Jawaharlal Nehru University, there was an eerie silence across the campus as students alleged curfews had been imposed by the administration and it felt like they are "living in an era of emergency". The JNU administration said the its students' union members had made "certain statements" which has caused anguish to them.

 JNU students claim that varsity administration has imposed curfew on campus a day after post-poll violence

File image of the JNU campus. Image courtesy: jnu.ac.in

Police and paramilitary personnel continued to be deployed at the gates of the varsity and entry of outsiders and mediapersons was banned inside campus. "There is no written order with the security personnel banning the entry of media and outsiders but the guards have been issued verbal instructions. All the gates are being manned by security personnel," a Left member said. Another student said the campus wore a deserted look with the dhabas being closed and even students being asked to furnish ID-cards to gain entry to hostels. "Students are being asked to furnish ID cards to their hostels. Curfew timings have been imposed and we have to be in our rooms by 10 pm. A general body meeting was held in Brahmaputra hostel and they have decided to not follow the rule of showing ID cards. Even other hostels are planning to follow suit," a student said.

Another student said they are feeling like "they are living in Emergency". "The university has banned gatherings and protests. The campus bears a deserted look and the women students are feeling unsafe. On Monday night, a woman member of Left had to face sexist comments from ABVP members. It is like Section 144 (of CrPC) has been imposed without formal orders," a woman student said. Meanwhile, the JNUSU also condemned the "virtual emergency" in the campus. "In place of taking action against the culprits, the JNU administration, in the pretext of this ABVP hooliganism, has imposed a virtual emergency in campus – by closing down dhabas after 8 pm, restricting entry of students post 10 pm in hostels, harassing students in the name of ID checks, banning entry of media in campus, banning protests and campaigns," the JNUSU said.

The JNUSU alleged the students' Union president N Sai Balaji was "stopped, intimidated and denied entry into his own Periyar hostel by hostel wardens who are very close to the ruling party and prominent members of VC's team to destroy JNU". "Joining the wardens, the ABVP cadres present at the scene also stopped and threatened the JNUSU president. Throughout the campus, the ABVP continues to openly abuse and threaten common students, especially women students," they alleged.

The JNUSU accused the administration of being hand in glove with the ABVP to "create an environment of terror, anarchy and chaos in the campus and also trying their best to turn our university into a virtual prison to muzzle democratic voices".  The JNU administration asked the students to desist from rumour mongering. "JNU administration has noted with anguish certain statements made on social media by the recently elected office-bearers of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union. "Any kind of misinformation or rumour which causes anxiety and fear among the students and residents of JNU campus will be met with strict disciplinary action envisaged in the rules and statutes of JNU," the varsity administration said.

In protest, the students have started operating the Guerilla Dhaba from Monday night. Guerilla Dhaba, is owned by nobody, run by volunteering students, and was set up by them as a mark of protest against the administrations decision to shut down canteens on campus at 11 pm over "security reasons" in 2017.  After the administration's order banning gatherings, the students have begun operating it again.

Members of the ABVP's JNU unit alleged on Tuesday that they are being attacked by Left-affiliated groups in the varsity and refused to go back to the campus till the university administration assured them of security. Alleging a series of attacks on its members, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's student wing accused Left activists of curtailing their "freedom of expression". Violence erupted on the JNU campus after a united front of Left student groups Sunday won all four central panel posts in the union defeating the ABVP by considerable margins.

While the AISA alleged that ABVP members randomly attacked students, with a former student being almost "lynched" and the new JNUSU president being beaten up, the RSS-affiliate claimed its activists were attacked by Left supporters and three were injured on Monday. On Saturday groups clashed ahead of the counting, which was suspended after election authorities cited "forcible entry" and "attempts to snatch away ballot boxes". Six FIRs have been registered on the basis of cross complaints in connection with the alleged incidents of violence on the JNU campus.
An organisation Jan hastakshep condemned the violence on campus and demanded action against the miscreants. "It is not only an attack on JNU's democratic ethos but sounds the danger- bell for the democratic ethos of the country.  "Ever since the present government took over power, ABVP has been acting as Nazi storm troopers (SA), the latest act of their criminal hooliganism is violence in JNU campus," they said in a statement.

Updated Date: Sep 19, 2018 09:52:26 IST