Updates as on 21st September 2019
The University administration issued a press note on 20th September 2019.
The note addresses the strike of the students and has given a category-wise reply to each of the demands.
A simple reading of the note shows that most of the answers to the questions asked by students are evasion from responsibility.
It mentioned that the issue of locking washrooms was exaggerated as locking the washrooms of the administrative block was the usual procedure for after school hours.
It also denies any forced eviction measures carried out by the University on the hostel dwellers.
There are answers to the demands of the students like not extending library timing beyond 6 pm due to safety concerns since the campus is under construction.
The demands of a full-fledged student body is answered by the claims of ample student bodies in forms of the debate club, moot club etc which enable student representation.
The claims of mess facilities being apt are being made under the argument that there is a committee to oversee mess facilities which includes a student from every year.
Most demands of better infrastructure have been categorised as under process.
The full text of the Press Note of the University can be found here.
Reply to the Press Note
The students have issued a document in reply to the said press note.
They have stated that the lockdown of washrooms was a powerplay to force their hands into ending the protest. They also mentioned that the locking of washrooms has been said to be procedure but the reply is silent on taking away water purifiers. There is no such procedure to uproot water purifiers.
The University has committees for debate, moot etc but they are headed by faculties and therefore the opinion of students is not heard.
The hostel warden is an important responsibility and it cannot be given to faculties who are overburdened with academic work.
Students in their reply have questioned every claim of the university and are not satisfied with the current stand.
The full text of the reply to the Press Note by the students can be found here.
One of the students, under the promise of anonymity, has told Lawctopus that the University has agreed on some of the demands but only ORALLY and are abstaining from signing anything.
As of today, the state of affairs is that the peaceful protests by the students continue.
Recent Updates from the Campus (September 19)
The most recent reports from the campus state that the college authorities have resorted to draconian ways to end the protest.
Washrooms on lockdown
It is a shame that a prestigious university of law has forgotten all about Basic Human Rights as they put locks on the washrooms in a campus where over 200 girls reside.
Water purifiers have been uprooted from the establishments in order to force the students out of the campus. There is nothing in the world which can justify taking away drinking water from 400 kids whose average age is below 20.
September 20 (Day 4)
According to the notice of the University, this is the date to vacate the premises and go back to their home. Students who come all the way from Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal, Karnataka, Kerala, Gujarat and other states are expected to magically leave the campus and land into their homes in a day’s notice.
The four hundred students could have just as easily chosen the other route by vandalising university property, heckling staff and even causing a ruckus at the homes and offices of the higher officials. They chose not to and even after the administration threw several punches, the students took the hit and kept moving forward.
It has been reported that as of 20th September, breakfast was not served at the university campus, and students have arranged for their own food. It has also been informed that no food shall be served at the university anymore for the whole duration of the strike.
See the video of the administration taking away not just the food but also the utensils from the mess.
Last but not least, the entire academic block has been completely locked down by the administration.
As a peaceful message, the students have set up their packed up luggage collectively in the university campus.
The peaceful protests at HPNLU faced a series of blows by the archaic administration and yet stood strong. The protests have till date garnered the attention of national and regional media and yet the administration is far from even lending their ears.
The reasons for and updates of the protest till 18th of September are here.
The news of the events has been circulated and even advocates have started to take notice of the fact but we cannot help but wonder why has the government not intervened?
I’m told that police, no less, is being brought into @hpnlu campus tom. Draconian acts against students fed up with unsafe water, hepatitis & terrible facilities isn’t quite the way to foster rule of law. Govt needs to lay off, allocate more money asap. https://t.co/fuI3anjUva
— Karuna Nundy (@karunanundy) September 19, 2019
Muhammed Adil was a student of RMLNLU for his graduate course and then studied at HPNLU as an LLM student. Here is his message on the issue.
The massive movement of all the students of a National Law University caught the eye of almost all major media houses Here are the links to the same.
Ever since the protests started the administration has tried to strong-arm the students into folding. Allegedly, there were comments made by the Vice-Chancellor suggesting to enrol into a traditional law university if they can’t afford the fees and to enroll in Jindal Global Law School if they can afford the fee for better facilities.
Reports are that even the Chancellor stopped them in their steps when a delegation of the students approached for help and denied acknowledging all demands excluding the academics.
All along the way, the students were thrown one challenge after another, each more daunting than the last. There was a notice issued by the authority to vacate the hostels for a week and failing to do so may result in strict action. With students coming in from different parts of the country to study, it was not possible for them to leave. Trailing this, all the facilities were taken away and the campus was on lockdown by the authorities.
All of this happened because the students demand hygiene, food fit for humans, infrastructure that they pay for and wifi for research.