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Dramatic Standoff at JNU as Students Protest New Hostel Rules, Ambulance for Dean Allegedly Blocked

While the administration alleged that the protesters stopped doctors from meeting ailing Dean of Students on campus, the students denied they had done any “gherao”.

News18.com

Updated:October 28, 2019, 8:34 PM IST
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Dramatic Standoff at JNU as Students Protest New Hostel Rules, Ambulance for Dean Allegedly Blocked
While the administration alleged that the protesters stopped doctors from meeting ailing Dean of Students on campus, the students denied they had done any “gherao”.

New Delhi: There was a dramatic standoff at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi on Monday as students protested against an administration meeting called to discuss a set of draft rules for hostel residents that among other things, provides for stringent punishments for acts of resistance.

While the university administration alleged that the protesters blocked an ambulance and stopped doctors from meeting ailing Dean of Students Umesh Kadam on campus, the students denied they had done any “gherao” and said theirs was a “peaceful demonstration” against the “illegal” meeting.

What the University Says

University registrar Pramod Kumar said a meeting of the Inter Hostel Administration was going on at the convention centre of JNU when some students, “who are not members of the IHA committee, forcibly entered the venue”.

"The committee members requested the agitating students to go out and let the meeting continue. But they became more aggressive and began sloganeering loudly, approached menacingly towards the dean of students (DoS)," he said.

In this raucous atmosphere, DoS Umesh Kadam fell sick with alarmingly high blood pressure, he said. "But what was most shocking was a complete heartlessness and insensitivity displayed by the students; they did not allow the ambulance to move towards the hospital for an emergency rescue of Kadam," the registrar said.

He alleged that the students did not even allow the university doctors to check on Kadam.

Condemning the incident, JNU Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar posted on Twitter, "The university administration is contemplating on a severe action against some JNU students whose conduct today has been not only unbecoming, but dangerous and shameful. This kind of behaviour by a section of JNU students is highly condemnable and outrageous."

The registrar said the situation of the DoS was getting worse; even his wife and two children were seeking relief from the students. "Kadam's wife was pleading with students and asking the university security to shift him to a fully equipped hospital outside the campus, but these unruly students did not move," the JNU registrar claimed.

What Students Say

The students, on the other hand, said that the meeting was called illegally as it was without any representation from the JNUSU (Jawaharlal Nehru University Student Union). They said there was no question of the professor being “held hostage” as he had left the meeting at 11am.

“Keeping in line with their policy of denying democratic practices and excluding the student representatives from decision making processes, the admin once again did not invite the student bodies in this crucial meeting,” the JNUSU said in a statement.

The student body said the protests against efforts to privatise the hostel with water and electricity metres, implement curfew timings and many more “draconian” measures was peaceful.

The students said that after the meeting was abruptly adjourned following the protests, they gathered around the health centre asking the Dean of Students to receive the application for withdrawal of the IHA draft.

The IHA draft seeks to implement a fee hike in hostels, along with provisions such as a curfew time as well as fines and punishments such as expulsion, denial of degree, stoppage of fellowships and eviction for protests.

The JNUSU said it has been continuously appealing the dean to receive the application and enter into a process of discussion with the student representatives.

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