A day after students of the Himachal Pradesh National Law University (HPNLU) resumed an indefinite protest on Tuesday over the lack of amenities, the University administration has notified the closure of the University for a week.
A notification issued on Wednesday evening gave students a maximum of two days to vacate the University premises. It further states that students choosing to remain on campus after Wednesday evening (including yesterday night) would be staying at their own risk. The full notification reads as follows:
“As directed by Hon’ble Chancellor, all students are hereby informed that in view of students’ not calling off protest and agitation in spite of constant efforts of the University Administration, it is announced that the University and hostel administration will remain closed w.e.f. today i.e. September 18th, 2019 (evening) to till September 25th, 2019, i.e. Wednesday.
It is also directed that all students must vacate the University campus with immediate effect. If any student still prefers staying in the University Campus during night, he/she will be staying at his/her risk and responsibility.
It is further directed that residents of all hostels shall vacate the hostel latest by September 20th, 2019, failing which strict action will be taken. (sic)“
While confirming the closure of the University in view of the ongoing student protests, Vice-Chancellor Prof Nishitha Jaswal cited lack of funds as the reason for not being able to accede to the student demands for improved amenities. Prof Jaswal says that it is not possible to provide the amenities sought for overnight.
“If they want the building to be constructed tomorrow, this cannot be done,” she said, further adding that, “The process is ongoing…But it cannot be done before the scheduled time… Most of the things are already there. Some of the things are in the pipeline…”
On the subject of unavailability of funds to HPNLU, she said,
“This University is not getting any grant from the state. The State passed the statute and established the University without any infrastructure…Being a state university, the state is supposed to give the funds. We only got funds for the construction of administrative block, academic block and one hostel, that too with the intervention of the Chief Justice (University Chancellor).
And that too has been given to the High Court. It is not with the University. We are not getting anything, irrespective of the efforts being made by us…In fact, we are…struggling for corporate social responsibility from different ends. We can’t force anybody, we can only make requests.“
The lack of basic amenities at the University prompted the students of HPNLU to commence protests six months ago, in March this year. However, at that time the protest was called off temporarily, with the student body making it clear that it would resume the protests if the issues raised are not addressed.
Yesterday, the students took to resuming their protest. Apart from registering their protest to the continuing absence of basic facilities such as safe drinking water, hygienic food and inhabitable hostel rooms, the student body has also claimed that they have not been provided with moot court facilities, sports facilities, and WiFi, despite being charged for the same.
The other demands include the creation of a democratically elected Student Body Association, transparency in administrative functioning, and introduction of adequate medical facilities on campus.
Reacting to the resumption of the protests, the University administration had earlier issued a notice threatening the protesting students with strict action.
[Read the Notice issued on Wednesday]