LSR's hostel policy is the reason behind Aishwarya Reddy's 'institutional murder', claim students, ask warden and principal to resign

The college had, in 2019, decided to allot hostels only to freshmen. In the beginning of October, the II year students were asked to vacate their rooms in person  
Aishwarya Reddy
Aishwarya Reddy

A little over a month ago, the second-year students of the University of Delhi's Lady Sri Ram College for Women who resided in the hostel were asked by the college administration to vacate their rooms by October 31. The hostel's new policy only allowed accommodation to the first-year students. The students were initially asked to come to the college and vacate their rooms in person when a lot of places were still under a lockdown. This created a lot of hue and cry among the student community, with them calling the move undemocratic.

The students who were asked to vacate their rooms were in the first year of their course, when they left the college in haste in March, owing to the pandemic. This group of II year hostellers included Aishwarya Reddy, a BSc Mathematics student, who recently died by suicide, owing to and increasing financial strain. The college's student body that previously accused the administration of violating the DU Act, has now called for the resignation of the college principal and the hostel warden, holding them accountable for Aishwarya's 'institutional murder'.

Previously, the warden had claimed that case to case extensions in deadlines have been made and that Aishwarya wasn't one of the people who approached the hostel admin for the same. "A large number of students had written requests to get a deadline extension until the college reopening which was outrightly denied. If anything was fair, only such an extension would have been in favour of the students, considering the additional financial burden of travelling to and from Delhi and back again with their luggage and the stress of travelling and finding alternative accommodation in a pandemic," the student resident body said in a statement. "Further, much of the resident body was stressed by the October 20 notification that stated that the hostel will move their luggage if they do not by November 10. The tonality of the statement is what forced many residents to travel to Delhi even amidst adverse conditions and Aishwarya was one among the persons who decided to. That an institutional failure of the hostel to provide a reasonable respite to students is blamed on Aishwarya for not approaching the hostel admin for a few days extension is a hollow and insensitive argument," the statement said. Previously, while talking to EdexLive, Aishwarya's former roommate Hana Fathima confirmed that she was planning to go to Delhi in November to vacate her room.

The last email regarding the same was sent to the students on October 26. It reads, "As many as 67 current second-year students have made no arrangements to collect their luggage as of now, nor have they gotten in touch with us to tell us when they will be coming. After the November 10, all luggage left behind will be packed by packers and movers and shifted. There will be no supervision of the packing by the hostel and the hostel will not be responsible for any loss or damage."

Calls made to the LSR Principal Dr Suman Sharma, seeking a comment on the same, went unanswered. This copy will be updated once she responds.

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