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No primordial identity politics in campus, says JNU VC, weeks after casteist slur on walls

Vice Chancellor Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit said administration was in the process of effecting several changes that would tighten security on the grounds and also for students.

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New Delhi: Weeks after the Jawaharlal Nehru University’s walls were painted with anti-Brahmin slurs, the institute’s Vice Chancellor Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit said Monday that there was no place for politics on “primordial identities” in campus.

Pandit also told the media that the university was not anti-Brahmin, and that the vandalism could have been executed by outsiders.

She, however, said there was no way the miscreants could be identified because of the absence of security personnel and cameras at the time the mischief was carried out.

Pandit also said there was an acute need of revamping the campus’s security system and sprucing up other infrastructure to prevent such trouble in future.

“The incident was a mischief by miscreants from outside. A lot of students from outside come to the campus to study in our library. Ours is an open campus in terms of access and, sometimes, there is no measure of checking who is entering it,” she said.

While the Vice Chancellor is not against genuine students entering campus, there is still a “need to identify the non-JNU students” who come to study and learn, she said.

Need for campus safety

Pandit said such incidents bring a bad name to students and that politics in JNU has always been on the basis of ideology and not primordial identities — or the idea that national and ethnic identities are fixed.

She referred to previous lapses in security on campus and said the university was in the process of introducing electronic ID cards to students. She also said electronic vehicles would soon be available for campus commute.

Pandit said, “Recently, we had an incident where a female student was molested on campus. JNU has always been a free space. The walls surrounding the campus are dilapidated in places and are badly in need of repair. We are looking into the matter.”

She also said the administration was in conversation with students to decide on the spots where security cameras could be set up. The university was also in the process of changing the present security agency, Pandit added.

Also readThe strange politics of planet JNU: How I got introduced to ‘Leftist intolerance’

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