New Delhi: The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) administration on Sunday said they had not "permanently closed down the Parthasarathy Rock" area on the campus. The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU) and other student bodies have been protesting against the move, saying the administration is closing down "democratic spaces".
On Sunday, the chief security officer of the university said it was a "rumour". "No such decision has been taken and a lock was temporarily put up on the gate at the time of some repair work," the officer said in a circular.
Some miscreants had broken open the lock and uprooted the iron gate on the intervening night of October 19-20, the circular said. The act was tantamount to a criminal offence of "damaging public/university property and investigations are on to find out the culprits", the circular added.
"This is to bring to the notice of the JNU community that the Parthasarathy Rock area has been found to be misused sometimes and that includes alcohol abuse and physical scuffles, and more recently, unauthorised outsiders have entered the premises," the circular said.
In order to maintain safety and security for the JNU community, the Parthasarathy Rock area will remain open from 5:30 am to 7:30 pm, it added. All members of the JNU community will be allowed into this area during the said hours on production of their identity cards, it said, adding that the current arrangements will remain in force until further notice.
Former JNUSU president N Sai Balaji said the circular aimed to "implement curfew timings, which the draft Inter-Hall Administration circular talks of through back hand". The VC hired a company with 270 security guards. This is 200 less than the earlier number.
"The cost of the contract for 470 guards was Rs 17 crore, which is the same amount the VC is paying for the new company of 270 guards only," he added. This was done intentionally to put JNU's security under comprise and use it as a pretext to curb freedom of movement, he alleged.
"It is a grand design to loot, disrupt and control JNU and its students," Balaji said.