Protests intensify with another death in JNU campus: A multimedia report

Written by vik

Topics: Campus, Socio-Political

Another death followed hard on the heels of Aishvarya’s death in the JNU campus [Read part I of this report first]. Dr. Sarpudden, senior faculty member from Govt. Arts College Trichy staying in the JNU campus died due to lack of timely medical support.

Aishvarya Agrawal dead in JNU campus

Students gathered for protests at the administrative building at 2:30 pm on 14 September 2009 [JNUSU had given the call for protests and SFI had even announced a school strike].

For the first time in more than 4 years the “insensitive and inhuman” JNU VC came out to talk to students and JNUSU [he is known for asking students to  ‘come through proper channel’]. He came down from his ‘pink palace’ after listening to some 30 minutes of sloganeering [JNU VC jawaab do, JNU VC boriya bistar baandh le”].

He was given the expected harangue by the students. He talked to the students for about 4-5 minutes and obviously had no answers to students’ questions who were in no mood to listen to his lame excuses. He however assured the students that a full-fledged ambulance will soon be made available to the JNU community.

In the pic below, JNU VC [in the centre] facing the ire of students. Students were also angry that not a single official from the JNU administration was present in Aishvarya’s condolence meeting held right at the administrative block of the JNU campus! Many students spoke [listen to the audio of the meeting] during the protest meeting and the popular opinion was that the cruel administration had all the money to invest in things which brought it “commission, dalaali” but had no money for basic facilities in the campus and the health centre had become a “reference centre” [sending student to AIIMS or Safdarjung]! Students also spoke against the highly substandard JNU doctors [including the CMO Dr. Gautam Patra and Dr. Anuradha]. Students also narrated their experience with the JNU health centre and how it was little help to the student community.

JNU students protest against adminsitrationa and JNUVC

JNU students protesting after Aishvarya's death in JNU campus

Audio and Video from the protest meeting

Click on the image below to go to the esnips page to listen or download the audio of some speeches [including that of Sandeep Singh, Shephalika, Roshan Kishore, Vikram and others; ~40 minutes and not all speeches are included in it]. audio of the protest meetingIn the following 1 minute video, the VC leaves while the students shout slogans against him. If it is not showing here you can go to the You Tube page and watch it.

Political Parties and their politics

Addendum:  ‘Politics on the dead body?’ is a pertinent question to raise given the fact that the political parties and the JNUSU took about 2-3 days in raising their voice. The following excerpt is from the blog ‘Voice of JNU’. Click here to read the post: Politics on the dead body of Aishvarya

If someone will ask me who really the killer of Aishvarya is, I will simply answer “The Administration”, but at the same time the political parties who won the JNUSU office are equally culpable. How can I forgive them who never mentioned better medical facility in their real priority list prepared after winning the election? Unfortunately they are also singing the same song and trying to portray themselves as the real strugglers. Every student of JNU can remember that the political parties have come in action after the media reports in all important newspapers (3 days later). The political parties didn’t bother to inform media same day.

Now the death of Aishvarya has become an opportunity for every political party and they are trying to encash the issue with full capacity. I won’t feel any hesitation to call them vultures who want to feed their apatite with the dead body of Aishvarya.

It is noteworthy that SIT students have repeatedly urged the JNU community to come forward for the cause without any “political colours and caps.”

JNUSU-led hunger strike in campus

Update 19 September 2009: JNUSU called a relay hunger strike for “24X7 health facilities, emergency services, fully-Equipped ambulance” with a protest demonstration on the night of 17 September 2009.  About 25 students sat on the hunger strike on day 1. PSU in its pamphlet dated12 19/09/09 questioned the JNUSU strategy of hunger strike and gave a call to “assert health facilities as a right, not as charity.”

SIT students make headway: 1868 signatures submitted with proposals, committees formed

Update 19 Sep 2009: The SIT students submitted a letter to the VC with 1868 JNU student signatures on the issue and very cogently put forward their demands. SIT students informed that the administration paying heed to their demands has formed two committees which will look into their proposals [meeting of these committees were already held today]. The following is the text of the letter submitted to the JNU VC by the SIT students along with 1868 signatures. Please note that the dinner pamphlet on 18/09/09 by the SIT students also had some hand-written explanations.

Dated: 18/09/2009

Prof B.B. Bhattacharya

The Vice Chancellor

JNU, New Delhi


We submit the signatures of 1868 students of JNU who support the letter, dated 10th September 2009, that you received regarding Aishvarya’s death from SIT students and urge you to provide us the two essential facilities as mentioned in the letter, one of which is;

* 24×7 Emergency facilities having an on-duty doctor at the health center.

We want to draw your attention towards having a doctor in health centre 24X7. Defining emergency is itself less easy. Rushing to AIIMS or Safdarjung Hospital is not required in every emergency situation. If someone in the campus suffers from stomach upset it simply requires norflaxacin prescribed by any doctor. But if someone gets cardiac arrest or asthma attack, every minute becomes important and instead of going to AIIMS which is a good 30 minute drive from JNU, rushing to Fortis or Holy Angels may be a wise choice.

So, it becomes inevitable to have the Health Centre open round the clock with at least one on-duty doctor, who can judge the criticality of the situation and severity of the emergency. It’s equally important to have someone who can take the decision according to the condition of the patient and either prescribe some medicine from the Health Centre only or send to the appropriate hospital.

Sir, almost 9 days have gone, and we are still standing at the same place as we were on that night of 9th September. Till now there is no circular from any authority of this University providing the telephone nos. of “Doctor-on-Campus”, DSW, chief Security Officer or any other such person who can be contacted in the emergency situation. We are still unprepared to face even the similar kind of situation. We urge you to ask the administration to start working to provide a campus wide emergency number at the security control room to be used by all members of the university community in emergency situations.

{Registrar, Prof. V.K.Jain, agreed to dos so and asked his staff to bring out a circular having all the contact nos. to be used in emergency situations.}

We write this letter to request you to call for the meeting of Health advisory Committee with the other administrative officials as soon as possible, to decide the modalities to open the locks of the Health Centre 24 hours. We suggest few proposals as follows:

1. If our University does not have the money from the non-planned expenditure to spend on these extremely necessary needs, collect Rs.5 from every resident student, Rs. 20 per family from the staff members and Rs. 20-30 per family from the faculty members, until the time UGC grants these facilities in the planned expenditure.

2. Many students of our University have fellowships under the heads of JRFs, SRFs and RAs from various funding agencies. Each and everyone of them gets some medical allowance(minimum Rs. 250). Generally it gets un-utilized. A mechanism can be developed to utilize this money in providing the emergency health services.

3. In the similar manner, the medical allowance of the staff members and faculty members can also be used.

4. There are many doctors studying in the various Schools and Centres of our University. They can be given proper incentives, to provide their services in the Health Centre on the roaster basis.

5. University can formulate a system to provide accommodation to the Junior and Senior Resident doctors of the nearby government hospitals and in-turn get their services on the part-time basis at the health centre. {The chairperson of the committee on 24×7 health facilities has assured us to give full consideration into the above 5 proposals.}

6. Investment can also be made in group insurance policy for all students. That will work in the interest of both the university and students, as the premium for young students (18-30) will not be very high. This will allow the students to avail better medical facilities than available from government hospitals.

{We have been told that this proposal had been floated in the past, but was rejected by various students organizations}

The second essential facility we requested you in the previous letter;

* Well equiped 2 ambulances with the on-duty paramedic.

We appreciate your decision to purchase one ambulance. We urge you to ensure that it is on a 24 hours standby with the required support staff. Given the size of the campus which accommodates infants to senior citizens, it would be better to have two ambulances to counter emergency situations.

Sir, if you can provide the two basic necessities, so that no other resident of this campus dies due to non-availability of the in time proper medical care, that will be the true homage to Aishvarya.

We, the SIT students along with the other residents of campus, light the candles in front of the Health Centre daily at 9:00 PM, when it gets closed, to pay tribute to our dear colleague. We will keep doing this till it’s gate is not open round the clock.

Sir, no one from your office could attend the condolence meeting held on 10th September, we urge you to join us whenever you get time at 9:00 PM, it takes only 10 minutes.

{Many of the Administrative personnel expressed their wish to join us}

Let we reiterate the fact that we SITians think that these are the bare minimum, our University should have and we don’t seek any political mileage out of our sincere efforts.

Yours failtfully,

All SIT students

cc/- Registrar, Rector1, Rector2, Dean of Students, JNUTA, JNUSA, All the JNU community

Enclosure: Support forms with signatures of students.

Better health facilities in JNU campus soon

Update: 26 September 2009 : The constant peaceful struggle of the JNU SIT students and the struggles by other bodies in the campus finally bore fruits. The JNU administration has agreed that a well equipped ambulance with a paramedic will be stationed in the campus from the 29th of this month. Also from the same night, the JNU health centre will remain open all night. The AISA-led JNUSU also ended its hunger strike on the issue [there was also a university strike and protest demonstration by them on 24 September and some teachers had also addressed a public meeting on the issue].

However the JNUSU stance has been criticized by many parties in the campus [read a critical report on the voice of JNU blog]. JNU NSUI unit, while giving the credit to SIT students, also writes that it collected signatures from the student community and held a protest demonstration on 24 September 2009 at the SIT lawns. The image below is of JNU teachers addressing students in a public meeting on the issue on the night of 24 September 2009 near the administration building.


The following images are of the SIT students’ pamphlet [letter to JNU VC] dated 25 Sep 2009 and the JNUSU pamphlet on the same day. Please click on them to enlarge and read.



The following excerpt is from the SIT students’ letter to JNU VC B.B. Bhattacharya [please click on the image on left above to read the notes on it]:

As you know, our friend Aisvarya lost his life because he couldn’t get basic medical attention on time. That his death was completely preventable makes it even more tragic. It is a cruel irony that a young man, working in an institute where people are researching on cancer, died of an asthma attack.

His death, and the following incident of the death of a visiting faculty member, highlighted the shortcomings of the medical facilities available in our campus. The two incidents (in as many days) galvanised the entire JNU community- students, staff and faculty into action demanding better health care facilities in the campus. Notably, our esteemed administration considered these demand to be of merit.

The JNU administration responded positively and despite the limitations, the administration has procured one fully equipped ambulance. We, the students, sincerely appreciate these efforts from the administration. Moreover, we positively hope that the administration will continue their efforts till our requests for the Health Centre to be made 24×7 as well as the provision of an auxiliary ambulance are fulfilled. However, all our efforts cannot make up for the sad truth that a young, promising life has been lost.

Since the catalyst for all these changes was Aishvarya’s death, we have a humble request, which we hope the administration will take into the consideration. We wish that the Ambulance be dedicated to the memory of Aishvarya. This would be the tribute to his departed soul from whole JNU community.

Furthermore we request the administration to call Aishvarya’s parents to come to JNU to dedicate new Ambulance to JNU community.

We hope you will give due consideration to our humble suggestions.

We submit the signatures of 433 staff members of JNU supporting the letter, dated 10th September 2009, that you received from us regarding Aishvarya’s death.

6 Comments Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Reema says:

    wow!! u can become a journalist!!

  2. Aryan's Mom says:

    Ahh..I am getting to know more about JNU events from you…

  3. Hoi says:

    JNU must always remember Aishvarya.
    Dedicate the ambulance in Aisvarya’s memory.

    “We wish that the Ambulance be dedicated to the memory of Aishvarya. This would be the tribute to his departed soul from whole JNU community.

    Furthermore we request the administration to call Aishvarya’s parents to come to JNU to dedicate new Ambulance to JNU community.”
    ( Quoted excerpt is from the SIT students’ letter to JNU VC B.B. Bhattacharya)

  4. manay says:

    JNU administration must respect the departed soul by Dedicating Abmbulace to Aishvarya’s Memory !

  5. joji says:

    The comment by Joji has been deleted because he/she is spamming here by leaving link and details of her institute which has no relation to the posts on this blog. – Vikas, Blog Administrator

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