As tension in JNU continued to brew in the aftermath of the student union polls, with both ABVP and the Left accusing each other of violence, the administration responded by temporarily banning protests and processions on campus, and curbing entry of outsiders to hostels.
“It is to inform all stakeholders that due to the prevailing situation on campus, any form of procession, demonstration, rallies, etc are not allowed until further notice,” JNU Registrar Pramod Kumar said in a notice, released after a call for a joint ‘peace march’ by teachers and students within the campus.
A PhD student from the School of International Studies claimed, “The administration has shut down all hostel mess. Students are not allowed to enter each other’s hostels and public gatherings have been banned.”
Defying the Registrar’s order, around 1,000 students and teachers marched silently from Ganga Dhaba to Chandrabhaga Hostel in the evening, led by the JNU Teachers’ Association and the newly elected JNUSU. No slogans were raised, but they sang songs such as ‘we shall overcome’.
Kumar told The Indian Express, “We had sent them a notice saying they should not hold the protest. If they have gone ahead, we’ll put the matter before the statutory body and take it from there.”
In almost all hostels, including Shipra, Chandrabhaga, Kaveri and Narmada, entry of outsiders has been prohibited. The office in-charge of Shipra hostel, in a notice, said, “No guests are allowed to stay in the hostel till further order.”
Senior warden of Kaveri hostel wrote that in addition to outsiders not being allowed, “even JNU students are not allowed to visit and stay in the hostel after 11 pm and before 5 am”. The mess warden at Narmada hostel said that mess facility would only be provided to “bona fide hostel residents”.
Some students alleged that several dhabas had also been closed in the evening.
In another statement, Kumar said, “Unfortunately, some miscreants with the intent of creating unrest in the campus mobilised some student groups and started physical violence on innocent students. Some of them pelted stones at the warden’s flat.”
JNUTA secretary Sudhir Kumar Suthar said, “Teachers are not allowed to speak in the Executive Council or Academic Council, we are not allowed to collect at the administrative block. Now they have taken our right to demonstrate. So where are we to voice our grievances?”
JNUSU president-elect N Sai Balaji said, “The administration is again aiming for shutdown of JNU, these measures are illegal.”