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JNU files FIR against students for forcibly entering library, students say need access to books

JNU administration plans disciplinary action. It also plans to open the library soon as students say they want right of entry because reading material is ‘difficult to access’ online.

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New Delhi: The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) administration has filed an FIR against its students who forcibly entered the BR Ambedkar library earlier this week. It is also in the process of taking disciplinary action against the students, according to the Delhi Police.

The FIR said a group of nearly 30 students entered the central library on 8 June and smashed the glass door. They also got into an argument with the security staff of the library, which has been shut since March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The incident took place at 11 pm.

While the university administration filed an FIR Thursday, it is yet to confirm what disciplinary action it has taken.

“As of now there is no official statement on this. We shall inform the press as and when the next steps are taken,” said the university’s public relations officer Poonam Kudaisya.

I.P. Singh, Deputy Commissioner of Police, South West Delhi, who is in charge of the case, said: “We have registered an FIR based on the IPC section 188 (damage to public property) and section 51 of the Disaster Management Act (punishment for obstruction). So far no arrests have been made and as the case progresses we will look into the matter and proceed accordingly.”

None of the students who entered the library and refused to leave agreed to comment on the matter. However, a student who didn’t wish to be named told ThePrint that they wanted right of entry to the library as reading material is “difficult to access”.

In its latest move Friday, the varsity administration said it has “decided to take appropriate steps to open the Dr. BR Ambedkar Central Library soon”. It also asked students who had “unlawfully” occupied the library premises to vacate in order to sanitise the area.

Also read: More Indian women enrolled for higher education in 2019-20, report shows

The incident

In a statement Thursday, JNU Registrar Ravikesh said a group of students forcibly entered the main reading room of the B.R. Ambedkar Library, on 8 June and have occupied the space since then, in disregard of the law and Covid-19 guidelines.

“They do not vacate the library building even during the night. This has caused health risk for the Library staff and even other students residing in the hostels, since these unruly students return to hostel for lunch/dinner or other purposes,” he said.

“When no amount of persuasion by the Librarian and the security personnel convinced these students against violating the law and COVID-19 guidelines, the JNU Security Office lodged a police complaint in view of the seriousness of the issue. It has been found that these students do not even use mask or follow other related COVID-19 Guidelines.”

Speaking to ThePrint on the condition of anonymity, a JNU student said, “We just want the library to be opened. We want to study. We have been suffering for so long. The online mode of instruction is not stable and reading material is difficult to access.”

The JNU Students Union claimed in its statement that the varsity action is a tactic of “criminal intimidation”. The union demanded that the library be opened and students and teachers be vaccinated as soon as possible.

According to DCP Singh, the college administration and students have been able to solve the matter internally. “As of now the university has told us that they will take disciplinary action against the students responsible,” he added.

This report has been updated to include the JNU administration’s statement released Friday.

Also read: Efforts underway to ensure more Indian institutions scale global excellence, says PM Modi


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