Alarmed by Jamia Evacuation Notice, Stranded Girl Hostellers Write to VC for Help

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Mohd Aasif | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – Several inmates of girls’ hostels of the Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) University, on 9, wrote to vice-chancellor Ms. Najma Akhtar, and proctor questioning the timing of the evacuation notice served on them by the administration. The girls are stuck in their hostels due to lockdown.

In the two emails, the university students requested the authorities to allow those who are unwilling to go back to their native places to stay on in the hostels.

Through the letter, the students apprised the university authorities the challenges and issues they are facing in the wake of coronavirus lockdown. They tried to convince them how difficult it is for them to vacate the hostels and take along all their belongings at a time when they have no alternative.

Speaking to Clarion India, one of the hostellers said on the condition of anonymity, “When it is impossible for people to even move from one place to another, how can we carry all our belongings with us.”

The students believe the move to evacuate the students at this juncture is nothing but harassment. “The hostel administration is constantly asking us to vacate the hostels on phone,” said Parveen, one of the hostellers, requesting not to mention her full name.

The office of registrar issued a notice to evacuate the hostels during the pandemic. It said the students stranded in the hostels, who could not go back to their homes earlier and stayed back, were directed to vacate the hostels as per the transportation and travel protocols of the state governments.

Amid lockdown, guardians of the long-distance girl students are alarmed by the notification of the university administration. They are concerned about the safety of their daughters.

A female hosteller of Bi Amma Hostel of JMI said, “Parents are worried about the usual women safety issues and don’t trust the state sponsored train for the stranded students.”

Some of them have got to travel almost two thousand kilometers to reach their home. What’s more, they have not been assured of dropping at their doorsteps. Risk of being quarantined also looms over them.

The students allege that the administration is not ready to take the responsibility of their wards which, they say, should have been the other way around at this critical juncture.

However, according to the latest guidelines adopted by the university administration, final year students will have their exams in the month of July. As the semester has not yet been completed, residents want to be allowed to stay on in the hostel, as per Jamia guidelines.

On the other hand, the JMI administration made it clear that there would be no exception regarding evacuation of the hostels.

Pointing out that the areas around the university are being declared hotspot, Registrar A P Siddiqui sounded a warning, “It is difficult for the university to maintain logistics and manpower requirements in future.”

Countering the administration’s claim on manpower, the students mentioned in their letter that they are not only cleaning their rooms but also corridors, mess and toilets. “The hostel has been functioning with a bare minimum manpower available,” the letter read.

“The hostels also require sanitisation, maintenance and contingent quarantine facilities. Therefore, the hostels are to be vacated completely with no exceptions,” says the notice issued by the administration.

On being asked if the hostellers have any objections to converting the hostels into quarantine centers, one of the hostellers of Hall of Girls (Old) said if the university administration wants quarantine centers, it can use its hospital and medical center.

What will happen if they convert the hostels into quarantine centers? A student, Megha (name changed), said, “It will only cause inconvenience to the students who are already residing in the hostel premises. What if the infection remains in the rooms and we get infected?”

Nevertheless, the hostellers say they have no objection to converting hostels into quarantine centers. Their only grouse is over shifting their personal belongings in the absence of the students who have already vacated hostel rooms.

“If the administration wants to use hostels for a contingent quarantine centers, they can do so, but no one can access the locked cupboards of the students. Shifting personal belongings without the permission of the residents is just inappropriate, unauthorised and unlawful.”, said Megha

Most of the girls had to leave for their hometowns in an emergency and therefore, could not carry most of their belongings which include important documents, laptops, and many other things. “Who will be responsible in case of lost items,” asked Parveen.

The students say that the hostel authorities have neither issued a notice to this effect nor are they willing to take any responsibility for their belongings and their safety during the trip to their homes.

On the contrary, an undertaking is sought from the hostellers that Jamia administration is not responsible for the maintenance of personal belongings of the students. “They are asked to hand over the keys of their cupboards,” said Parveen.

Among those stranded in the hostels are foreign and non-resident Indian students.

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