Uncertainty looms over JNU’s iconic ‘Ganga Dhaba’, students up in arms
The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), which has been the centre of protests since the beginning of this year, saw a new agitation on Friday, this time over its iconic Ganga Dhaba, whose owner has been served with an eviction notice by the administration.
Ganga Dhaba, which opens at 4 pm and feeds students till 3 in the morning at nominal prices, is one of the favourite joints on campus, besides being a perfect place for debates. The eatery’s owner was served with an eviction notice last week and was asked to vacate the place till Friday morning.
However, the students gathered at the dhaba, protesting against the alleged attack by the administration on the culture of the campus.
“The new JNU administration has been proving itself as an agent, who is appointed to destroy the university in every manner. It has left no single instance to take the opportunity to implement all its diktats to shrink the campus’ democracy. It has been using the February 9 incident as a pretext to justify all its decisions,” said JNUSU General Secretary Rama Naga.
“Now, it has decided to shut the Ganga Dhaba for ever. The administration has sent a ‘final letter’ to the owner of the Ganga Dhaba, saying that it will shut down the eatery,” he added.
However, JNU vice-chancellor claimed that the administration did not intend to “close down” the dhaba, but all commercial spaces operating on campus have to adhere to rules and the dhaba owner Bharat Tomar did not have a licence to function there.
“Ganga Dhaba is not being closed by JNU administration. It is considered as JNU heritage. Since the present occupant is illegally occupying the premises, he has been asked to vacate the place so that tendering procedure may be initiated at the earliest to run the eatery,” a senior JNU official said.
“Tomar is free to apply for the tender and seek a new contract,” he added.
The university authorities have stiffened the rules on campus, after the sedition row in February this year, in which a few students were booked under charges for organising an event during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised.