We have been reduced to less than human: Why the residents of Jamia hostels want the VC to stop the evacuation

The girls' hostel residents, like the boys' hostel residents, have also been allegedly asked to vacate the hostel with all their belongings
Image for representational purpose only
Image for representational purpose only

The residents of Jamia Millia Islamia's hostels have asked Vice-Chancellor Dr Najma Akhter to intervene and stop the hostel authorities from vacating the hostel. Both the men's and the women's hostel residents have written to the VC expressing their concern on the matter and complained that they have been threatened to vacate the hostel even amid the lockdown.

Calling the eviction a "violation of the very logic of the justification of quarantine", the students of the boys' hostel said that this act is a violation of their citizenship rights and right to security. "The hostel administration is asking us in threatening language to vacate the hostel in this crisis. This has put a big question mark before us. Why is this administration treating us in this manner? We are shocked over how the idea of asking students to vacate the hostel has come to their minds," read the letter. "Is this policy not in violation of the very logic of the justification of quarantine? Is it not amount to imperilling our physical security? Is it not in violation of our citizenship rights? Is it not against our dignity? Is it not in violation of the letter and spirit of the moral duty of our alma mater to function as the guardian of its students? Does this administration want us to become potential COVID-19 carriers and thus endanger national security?" asked the students.

The girls' hostel residents have also been allegedly asked to vacate the hostel with all their belongings. "It is almost impossible to vacate the hostel at a time like this or take all our belongings with us. Right now with the lockdown in place, when it is impossible for people to even move from one place to another, how can we carry all our belongings with us? We believe it is nothing but harassment in this time of crisis," said a student currently residing in the hostel. "The administration is not ready to take the responsibility, which they should, instead of disowning the students at this critical juncture. Secondly, final year students will have their exams in the month of July according to the last notice published by Jamia. As the semester has not yet been completed, residents should be allowed to stay in the hostels, according to Jamia guidelines. Another point which should be highlighted is that no such official order from the state government has been issued which says that they want to access the Jamia campus for the quarantine centre," she added.

The students also said that there has been no official notice yet by the hostel authorities and "neither are they willing to take any responsibility for our belongings and our safety during the travel". "Another important thing is most of the girls are not in hostels and shifting their belongings without their permission is firstly unlawful and it may also result in the loss of many important belongings. Who will take responsibility for the same? Who is going to compensate us for it? The students who are forced to vacate hostels are asked to handover an undertaking that the 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 as well. Moving of personal belongings without the permission of the residents is just inappropriate and unauthorised," said one resident. "Girls had to leave for their hometowns in emergency and therefore, could not carry most of their belongings which include important documents, laptops, and many other things. Apart from this, our hostel's warden said and we quote " you don't have the ownership". We were asked to quietly obey their orders leaving us with no other option," wrote the girls in their letter to the VC.

There has been no reply from the administration yet. We are waiting for a reply from the administration on the issue. The copy will be updated once we hear from them.

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