The genteel academic mood at the scenic Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is being disrupted, and it’s outsiders that are to be blamed. The Sunday incident in which the police lathicharged angry students just proves that point.
The altercation had originated with four outsiders after they drove into the campus, boozed, and misbehaved with women students. “There have been cases earlier where outsiders came in and eve teased our girls,” says Sandeep Singh, president of JNU’s student union. Student Shahnawaz Malik agrees. “Outsiders drive around our campus treating it like their father’s fiefdom where anything and everything is permissible.”
While JNU’s sprawling 1000-acre campus has always lured nature lovers and romantic couples, it’s a hooligan’s haven, too. “Many young people come from as far as Gurgaon,” says Ravi Shrivastva, a student. “They park their cars by the roadside, booze, play loud music and often misbehave with resident students.”
As a rule, strangers cannot be admitted into the campus unless they are visitors verified by a JNU resident. But it’s a rule observed only in passing. “I’m not a student but I often take my girlfriend to Ganga dhaba for late night dinners,” says Faisal Khan, a resident of Munirka. “Sometimes, the security guards don’t ask for ID cards,” explains Khushboo Rajdaan, a journalism student. “From now, security must be tighter and outsiders must be let in only after confirmation from their host inside the campus,” says Singh. But this will sadly curb students’ freedom, too.