From the past two days, Sheetal Jha (name changed) is on leave from her office. However, she is not on a vacation. Jha is sitting on an indefinite hunger strike to protest the inhuman treatment meted out to the sanitation workers at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).
Residents of the Yamuna working women’s hostel in JNU have raised their voice against the authoritarian nature of their former warden and the non-payment of dues to the sanitation workers. “The wages of the workers were being deducted illegally. They were being physically and verbally abused. While an inquiry conducted by the administration revealed that wages were indeed deducted, no probe has been initiated into the matter,” said Jha, who did not reveal her real name.
The residents of the hostel, many of whom are students at JNU and are simultaneously working as well, are now demanding that the sanitation workers be paid the dues and that a new warden be appointed immediately.
“Even though the warden has been removed from her post after the inquiry, she is occupying the official residence in the hostel. Till the time she vacates it, we will not get a new warden. Moreover, she has been threatening to evict us from the hostel,” Jha added.
The students have written a letter to the vice-chancellor and have also appealed to the newly elected JNU students’ union to intervene and ensure justice to the workers.
The university administration, meanwhile, has said that a new warden will be appointed soon. “We undertook an inquiry against the former warden. The process of appointing a new warden will also be completed soon,” said a university official.