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JNU to shun its famed debate culture; gears up to evict Dhabas from campus

JNU to shun its famed debate culture; gears up to evict Dhabas from campus

New Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), which is famous for ferocious student protests since the beginning, will see an attempt to shrink the democratic space on campus and put an end to the dabha culture that promoted free thought and expression. Scores of JNU students will have to forego fond memories of sipping chai (tea) at the eatery till the wee hours having animated discussions and debates or just a chat while killing late-night hunger pangs.

However, the executive council of JNU in its 277th meeting held on November 20, 2018, has taken a decision to explore the feasibility to establish food courts at suitable locations in the campus. There have been growing demand from the students for clean and hygienic food and also good ambience in the campus, JNU said in a statement. This will facilitate students of JNU, who are from various parts of the country, to have a wide range of choices of food and a space for networking and interactions, JNU statement reads.

Countering the JNU statement, JNUSU in statement, said that JNU's public spaces are places of academic engagement have been built and cultivated over decades. And, destruction of those spaces through closing down of existing dhabas for corporate takeover is nothing but a blatant move of privatisation which JNU administration has started. "They expect students to have dinner before 9 pm and stay in the hostels after that. The closing of dhabas is an attempt to stop the tradition of having debates after dinner. Ganga Dhaba is an iconic space to conduct such debates," said a JNUSU member.

Following the decision of Execuive Council (EC) to take appropriate action against the canteens in the campus which are neither following the rules nor catering to the requirements of the students community for the clean, hygienic and affordable food.

Meanwhile, JNU administration has also taken the decision to call for fresh tender for running canteens in the campus and those who have neither followed the rules nor paid the dues will not be permitted to participate in the tendering process. Earlier, the EC had taken the decision to temporarily close one of the reading rooms in the main library building to improve the fire safety measures. All other facilities in the library will continue to be available for the users of the library.

The latest decision to close down existing dhabas and start the tendering process for new food courts is bypassing already established democratic decision making process in JNU. "The Campus Development Committee (CDC) meeting hasn't been called and bypassing the democratic decision making process only shows the true intention of JNU administration and VC who is unilaterally imposing and destroying JNU," said JNUSU president N Sai Balaji.

Yogesh Kant

Yogesh Kant

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