Mumbai: The Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) held day-long protests at the Kalina campus of the Mumbai University on Friday demanding that the university fulfil its promise of keeping the campus’ Jawaharlal Nehru library open to students 24×7 from January 16.

A few of their activists will be going on an indefinite hunger strike till the university fulfils the written assurance it had given to them on January 10, following a protest a day earlier by the organisation.

The letter by the University Registar says, ‘The J. N. Library will remain open 24×7 (as and when necessary and particularly in examination periods)..This experiment would begin on pilot scale from January 16, 2017.’

  1. A. Khan, University Registrar said that the assurance was not a blanket one, adding that only three to four hostel students utilise the library during the night. The university is contemplating to provide a reading room in the hostels itself as an alternative, keeping students’ security in mind, Khan said.

There are also staff issues he said as only half the library staff are permanent ones and also lady staff cannot be asked to stay back during the night hours. “We don’t have the security or ambulance provision if there is a snake bite or any untoward incident at such hours,” said Khan.

Rohit Chandode, ABVP Mumbai Pradesh Secretary said that the Vice Chancellor Sanjay Deshmukh speaks of global standards for the University and cannot provide security and infrastructure for keeping the library open during the night. “The VC told us on a phone call that he is a paramparavadi (traditionalist) and cannot let girl students visit the library after 11 pm. In a city like Mumbai if girls are not safe, then where will they be? Shouldn’t the university provide the required infrastructure instead of prohibiting girls from using the library?” he questioned.

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