Published: 01st April 2020
With no way home, DU students return to hostels without food, water or electricity
The girls tried to go back to the hostel when they had nowhere else to go. But the authorities were not only reluctant to let them in but also threatened to take disciplinary action
As Coronavirus cases in India spiked to 1590 and the COVID-19 claimed 45 lives across the country, students who were unable to get back home are in a fix. Amisha Nanda and Pallavi Raj of Delhi University tried to go back to the hostel when they had nowhere else to go. But the DU hostel authorities were not only reluctant to let them in but also threatened to take disciplinary action.
Amisha is from Himachal Pradesh and when the hostel authorities wanted them to evacuate she did not want to leave at first. "The PM had declared Janta Curfew and trains were cancelled. We couldn't leave on Sunday. The very next day the Delhi CM announced a lockdown till March 31. Pallavi Raj and I thought we will stay at a friend's place for the time being. Her landlord was kind enough to let us stay. We paid the rent till March 31. Trains, planes and buses had been stopped by then and I had no way to get back home," she said. "Suddenly the lockdown got extended to April 14 and now we do not have a place to go. We do not have enough money to sustain us during this time. There is no guarantee that this will be over by April 14. What if the quarantine extends for a month? Where will we go?" asked Amisha. The girls argued that the notice was never to forcefully evacuate the hostels but to ask students to go home if possible. But the hostel authorities forced them to go out and now are not helping them find basic shelter.
With various such questions in their mind, Amisha and Pallavi, a native of Bihar, came back to the hostel. "We thought that is the safest place for us. We had tried to contact the Provost and wardens but they never took our calls. They even blocked us on WhatsApp. By the time we reached the hostel gates the guards had already been instructed to not let us in. They told us they might lose their jobs if they let us in, " said Amisha, a resident of Ambedkar Ganguly Students' House for Women. "My hostel was completely empty and I somehow managed to get in. But there was no electricity and once I was in they locked the main door of the hostel. There was no water or food. After almost six hours of to and fro, the administration allowed me to eat at the international students' hostel. But I do not know what will happen next. I don't want to leave because this is the safest place for us students now. Those who could not get home," she added. The authorities also called Amisha's parents and told them that she was violating hostel rules. "This worried my parents who were already worried about their daughter staying alone here at this time. The way the authorities spoke was also very disrespectful and rude," added the law student.