A chronology of the events: Students were protesting in front of Vice Chancellor’s office for the past two days. They were demanding a meeting with VC and wanted him to give a patient hearing to their grievances. However, it seems that Vice Chancellor has not learnt from the mistakes committed in the past and remained adamant that the orders issued for eviction of hostellers will not be withdrawn under any circumstances. The arrogance and insensitiveness of Vice Chancellor towards the woes of students led to another impasse which could have been averted if the university authorities had shown some spine and initiated a dialogue to arrive at any consensus.
Six-year-long impasse over the restoration of student union at Allahabad University came to an end after the intervention of Congress, National General Secretary. Will he intervene again? The casual attitude of Vice Chancellor compelled students to protest in the beginning. The continuous turning of blind eye towards the woes of students and inability to hold dialogue gave way to another showdown on the campus. The Vice Chancellor also ignored the directives of Union Minister of State, Human Resource and Development, Pushkari Devi.
City Congress Committee, president, Shyam Krishna Pandey said that after taking stock of volatile situation, Pushkari Devi interacted with Vice Chancellor and asked him to extend the stay of hostellers by two months. However, living up to his reputation, the VC ignored directive of Union Minister of State for HRD. AU officials had decided to go ahead with the university decision and ask the respective superintendents to make sure that the rooms are vacated as major repair work could be carried out and the illegitimate inmates flushed out of the hostels. Moreover, as the major repair work is to be carried out by agencies like CPWD etc, the same can be carried out only if all the rooms are vacated.
The notice to issued by DSW, which directed students to vacate the hostel within one week from the last day of their final examinations and handover keys of rooms to the Hostel Warden or Superintendent. The hostel in-charge was also asked to submit a report on the number of rooms vacated by inmates on a daily basis. Copy of the said notice had also been dispatched to the district magistrate and senior superintendent of police. Some of the faculty members were of the opinion that varsity authorities should allow the legitimate hostellers and are of the opinion that those who have submitted their fee and have to appear for any competitive exam should be allowed to stay in some hostel and rest of the inmates should be flushed out.
Since more than 60 percent of inmates have not submitted their annual dues, they don’t have any right to stay or agitate, revealed a university official. Earlier AU authorities, in 2007, had instructed the inmates to vacate the rooms before May 31. The evacuation order was passed as varsity authorities wanted to initiate major repair works, simultaneously, in all hostels belonging to AU. Later, succumbing to pressure mounted by the inmates, the varsity authorities decided to give some relaxation and take up repair work in various blocks whereas the inmates were allowed to remain in their allotted rooms. But since, the planning of total evacuation was also meant for removing the illegitimate occupants from these hostels, the relaxation was considered by these unwanted elements as yet another opportunity to strengthen their domain.
The failure to crack down on hostellers has resulted in huge financial loss to the university. Hostellers are charged a fee of 10 months for residing in hostels and according to existing rules inmates should vacate the hostel by April 30. The rule came into existence several years ago but could not be implemented due to several reasons. Moreover, the university authorities failed to conduct any raid in the hostel for the past two sessions. The university has now swung into action has directed all inmates to vacate their rooms within one week after the end of their exams. The hostel wardens and superintendents have been told to submit a report on the number of rooms vacated by the inmates every day.
The hostellers were of the view that vacating rooms after the annual exams will impact their preparations for competitive examinations like PCS (J), civil Services, UGC NET, SSC which are scheduled to be held in May and June. ‘If they intended to ask us to vacate the hostel after exams, this decision should have been made known in the month of January or February itself as now while filling the forms for various competitive examinations, we have given the address of our respective rooms in this situation, and university authorities are asking us to vacate the hostel. Can anyone suggest alternative to us as to where will we go, search for room indifferent localities or prepare for the exams’, said a group of girl hostellers.
The hostellers were demanding that AU authorities should permit them to stay in their allotted rooms till the end of June and the eviction can take place in the month of July. The agitated inmates were questioning the decision of the varsity administration to ask even the girl inmates to evict their hostels after exams. “The varsity administration gives the excuse that anti-social elements reside in the hostels so do these elements stay in the girl’s hostel too. If not then why have they been asked to vacate?” questioned one of the student leaders.
City North, MLA, Anugrah Narayan Singh has written a letter to Congress president, Sonia Gandhi demanding her immediate intervention and demanded extension of eviction drive by two months which will enable students preparing for competitive examinations to pursue their studies without any inconvenience. In a statement, Anugrah described the entire agitation as peaceful. He also criticized forceful eviction of boys/girls students from their respective hostels. He also raised questions on the urgency of such a drive. He also asked who will give shelter to nearly 4000- 5000 boys/girls who will be rendered homeless after the successful completion of drive. Anugrah flayed the dictatorial attitude of university authorities who have completely abandoned human values and described the action by police as barbaric, Similarly AICC member, Shekar Bahugtna and party leader, Yashveer Singh Yadav criticized the arrogant attitude of University authorities in a Joint press statement. They also demanded judicial inquiry into the entire fiasco that turned violent on Thursday and action against the errant police officers who are guilty of charging canes on students mercilessly.
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