A winter break like never before: Jamia hostels deserted after police action in campus
Of the around 600 students residing in seven blocks of the boys' hostel, more than 90 per cent have left the campus since the university declared holidays following violence.
Published: 18th December 2019 11:08 AM | Last Updated: 18th December 2019 11:08 AM | A+A A-
NEW DELHI: On winter breaks, the hostels of Jamia Millia Islamia usually buzz with activity as many students stay back to prepare for competitive exams.
But not this time.
Of the around 600 students residing in seven blocks of the boys' hostel, more than 90 per cent have left the campus since the university declared holidays following violence over the controversial citizenship law and the National Register of Citizens on Sunday.
"Ab CAB aya hai, to ghar ja rahe hain. Jab NRC ayega to kahan jayenge (Now CAB has come and we're heading home. Where will we go when NRC will be implemented)?" says 20-year-old Mohammad Anas as another student left Jamia boys' hostel for his home in Uttar Pradesh's Meerut on Tuesday.
While the women's hostels were completely empty and the rooms were locked, only a few towels had been hung out to dry in the gallery and hardly any student was visible on the roads leading to the hostel.
The walls of the hostel blocks carry anti-CAA and anti-NRC slogans, spray-painted in black, blue and maroon.
"Usually, the hostlers stay back and utilise the winter break to prepare for competitive exams, complete research work and do internships," Anas, who hail's from Uttar Pradesh's Saharanpur district, said.
"This time, it's a different matter altogether."
Anas and his friends in the hostel claimed the administration had asked them to leave the campus due to safety reasons.
The hostel's caretaker, however, denied that the administration had issued any such order, but added that students had been asked to not stay in the hostel at night till the situation returned to normal.
"The families are doing everything to ensure the students return home. They are scared," the caretaker said.
Only those who do not have money to travel or do not have a confirmed ticket are still here, he said.
"We hope our children remain safe."
Pointing at the three men sipping tea in the hostel's canteen, the caretaker said: "This is the first time I have this canteen so empty. It would bustle with activity, especially in the evening and at night." Wasif Shafi, a computer science student, said his family in Kashmir was worried and wanted him to return, but he cannot go because the exams have been postponed and the new dates can be announced anytime.
"It's not that easy to travel to and fro Kashmir in winter at such short notice," Shafi said.
"Flights get cancelled on a daily basis. People book tickets well in advance."
He said an uneasy calm prevailed in the hostel and the messes had been merged because only a few students were left in each block.
Another Kashmiri student, who did not wish to be named, said only 15 people were here, everybody else has left or are planning to leave soon.
"Mostly Kashmiri students, who cannot go home because the flight tickets get really costly during winter, and those from far off areas like Assam, Manipur, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Kerala are here," he said.
Asked if the administration had asked student to not stay in the hostel at night, Anas said replied in the affirmative, saying he was himself staying with a person he knows at Batla House area.
"But, I won't go home. This movement needs us first," he said, wishing others had also stayed back.