On January 18, the president of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) Aishe Ghoshe, among several others, received a notice from the administration asking them to pay a fine of Rs 2,000 for “illegally” residing in the university hostel.
“It has been observed by the hostel authority that you have illegally broken the double lock of your room. It is a serious violation of COVID-19 guidelines,” read the notice.
Flights, weddings, elections, cricket tournaments, religious functions, concerts – everything can take place, but students can’t enter their own hostel rooms! Ghor Kalyug.
— Shehla Rashid (@Shehla_Rashid) January 19, 2021
According to Ghosh, a lot of students returned to the university in September after informing the warden. But they didn’t receive any response from the hostel authority.
“The university had been routinely issuing notices to inform us about the lockdown extension, but we hadn’t received any information about the same in September. A lot of us don’t have any other place to stay, so we had no option but to come back to the hostel,” said Ghosh.
This is the second time that the university has issued such a notice. In November too, the university had asked its students to pay Rs 2,000 within a week. According to the notice, students were asked to pay the same amount every week if they fail to pay the fine.
Around the same time, Koyna hostel authority had issued a separate notice to Ghosh as she was “seen in Koyna hostel on 5/11/2020 at 4:30 am as informed by the security guard.”
“Up until now, the total fine for me and many other students amounts to almost Rs 24,000. How are we supposed to pay such a huge amount?” said Ghosh, adding that other departments have asked for a different fine amount from students.
The notice says that students returning to the hostel rooms is in “violation of the COVID-19 guidelines”. However, according to students, the university hasn’t specified the guidelines which they have been repeatedly invoking.
Moreover, students are asking the administration about the inauguration ceremony of the Vivekananda statue in JNU. “If the inauguration could be held and there are other kinds of gatherings being held across the country, why can’t students come back to the university?” asked Ghosh. “Although the PM was not present in the campus during the event, officials were, and they were not small in number.”
For now, Ghosh says that they will not be paying the fee and will call a meeting with the dean of the students to discuss the issue and deliberate upon on the future course of action.
Featured image credit: Devina Buckshee