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Havan in hostel: JNU teachers’ body seeks ‘security’ for warden

The teachers’ body of Jawaharlal Nehru University has come out against what it claimed was an “attempt at communal polarisation” over an incident in which a warden of a campus hostel stopped a prayer ceremony by a group of students midway over fire safety concerns.

Alleging that the warden in question was being “targeted”, the teachers’ association sought that the JNU administration provide “legal protection and security to the warden”.

A group of JNU students had last week approached police alleging that they were not allowed to perform a prayer ceremony inside Jhelum hostel due to “politically motivated” reasons, a charge denied by the hostel wardens.

The students had also written to the JNU Vice Chancellor alleging that the hostel warden had last Saturday asked them to disperse from the room where they were performing a havan.

The warden, Burton Cleetus, however, claimed that it was fire safety concerns which had forced his decision.

“The JNU Teachers Association (JNUTA) on Friday met and unanimously condemned this attempt at communal polarisation and demanded from the JNU administration that it must give legal protection and security to the warden.

“However, it cannot be only the administration to whom we entrust maintenance of campus harmony,” said Ayesha Kidwai, a JNU professor.

Kidwai also alleged that “the warden was questioned by police and told that the complaint against him could amount to charges of hurting religious sentiments, sexual harassment and the Prevention of Atrocities Act.” 
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