JNU students fined for ‘illegal’ entry into hostels
The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) administration has imposed fines amounting to Rs 2,000 on several students for allegedly entering hostels before the varsity officially allowed the re-entry of hostellers, students alleged on Thursday.
JNU students’ union (JNUSU) president Aishe Ghosh, a resident of Koyna hostel, also received a notice on Thursday. The notice, signed by senior warden, stated, “As it had come to our notice that Ms Aishe Ghosh….has been seen in Koyna Hostel on November 5 at 4.30am as informed by security guard..Hence the committee decides to impose a fine of Rs 2,000 on Ghosh.”
Sapna Ratan Shah, senior warden at Koyna Hostel, said, “Those students who had broken the locks (of rooms) and illegally entered the hostels, the warden committee decided to impose fines on them because the inter-hall administration (IHA) guidelines state that fines will be imposed on students who engage in unauthorised entry.” The IHA is a body which manages 18 JNU hostels.
Students who had gone back to their hometown during the Covid-19 lockdown in March were not allowed to return due to the increasing number of Covid cases on the campus. Since September, JNU students have been demanding a phased re-entry of all students into the campus. For now, the university has allowed a phase-wise return to the campus only for final-year PhD, M.Tech and M.Phil students of science background.
The notices issued to at least five residents of Koyna Hostel added that if they failed to deposit the fine in one week, an additional fine of Rs 2,000 would be charged next week and action will be initiated against them. The hostel administration cited the point 2.5.9 of the hostel manual which states that “Any resident lodging an unauthorised person shall be liable to fine and such other disciplinary action as may be decided by the wardens or higher authorities.”
The Registrar, Dean of Students, and Rector I did not respond to requests for comments on the matter or reveal the total number of students that were fined so far. Similar notices have been issued to other students of the hostel on Thursday.
Debayanti Bhowmick, an MPhil student from School of Social Sciences residing at Koyna hostel, said, “I returned to Delhi in November for my academic work and had to return to campus because I could not afford to live anywhere else and now, the hostel has imposed a fine of Rs 2,000. They are using the section used for unauthorized guests in the hostel manual. How can I be an unauthorized guest in the hostel room I pay for and which houses my belongings,” she said.
In Chandrabhaga hostel, students said three hostellers have been fined so far. Anand Yesodharan, a postgraduate student from School of Arts and Aesthetics, said he returned to campus on November 1 after he had e-mailed his warden about his return to Delhi.
“I had conveyed that I do not have any other accommodation in Delhi and had gotten my Covid-19 test. Yet, a penalty of Rs 2,000 was imposed on me a week after that. This is a ridiculous move because bonafide students of the campus are being accused of “illegal entry.” The union has been demanding phased return of all students since most of the other institutes have initiated such processes,” he said.
In the notice issued to Yesodharan on November 10, the warden stated that his act of breaking the lock of the room and staying in it was a “breach of hostel rules and norms as double locks put by hostel authority cannot be opened without appropriate permission.”
Former Dean of Students Umesh Kadam said that the students should not enter the campus before consulting with the administration and warden. “There can be a risk of superspreaders if too many students enter the campus at once. However, imposing penalties on them also cannot be the way forward. The students and the administration should hold dialogue on how to address the issue,” he said.
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