Regarding the abuse of office by the Warden of Yamuna Hostel to harass students and workers sign now


Sub: Regarding the abuse of office by the Warden of Yamuna Hostel to harass students and workers
Dear Sir,
This is to put before you the gross abuse of office by the Warden of Yamuna Hostel, Dr. Najmul Arif in the following ways:
A) Harassment of Students
1) Abuse of Office to deliberately harass and mislead students by lying to students about the availability of rooms as well as guest rooms in the hostel. It has been observed repeatedly that new students who are allotted Yamuna Hostel are often turned away by the warden in the pretext of unavailability of rooms. It is shocking to see that the warden uses her office to out rightly lie to students about rooms status as students get Yamuna hostel only after the DSW consults the Warden herself on the availability of rooms. Unless one is stern with her and threatens to take matters to the higher authorities she harasses both foreign and Indian students alike in this regard. She rejects the students pleas to allot a room despite having their folios stamped from the DSW and often students are left stranded and have nowhere to go.
2) The bureaucratic delays that she has deliberately instituted in the hostel office also serves as an excuse to humiliate students as they are made to wait endlessly for permissions and signatures and write extremely apologetic letters despite not being at fault.
3) She has not delegated any duties to the office staff and this makes students completely dependent on her for every aspect of hostel life. Even if one has cleared their mess dues, unlike other hostels where cashiers and caretakers can issue gate passes after verification of mess dues status, in Yamuna hostel, one has to apply for a gate pass two working days prior to leaving. Even after that no one else is allowed to collect this gate pass on your behalf and Dr. Arif insists on functioning only between 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., and that too without sticking to these timings herself. It has been observed that even during emergency situations, she continues to remain obstinate and refuses to issue gate passes despite being in the office at that time. One can only interpret this behaviour as a sadistic one that is deliberately done to humiliate and harass students in every possible way.
4) While on paper, she may show the authorities that she has followed the due procedure for notification of elections, what lies beneath these apparently unopposed elections is the coercion that she exerts over new and unsuspecting students to file their nominations and refuses them the right to withdraw their nominations. After this unopposed election students are not even allowed to resign when they find it unbearable to work with her, to the extent that rooms are allotted on the condition that the allottees have to perform compulsory service in the hostel and mess committees. In past years, it has also been observed that she has tried to coerce students to manipulate tenders for mess contracts in the name of receiving instructions to this effect from the Dean and Registrar. This is a blatant misrepresentation of the office of the Dean and Registrar and needs to be dealt with severely as this is tantamount to open corruption and also reveals the possibility of kickbacks existing in such acts.
5) Students have been denied mess rebates arbitrarily despite having the requisite permissions from the supervisor, chairperson and in special cases even from the Dean. There is no reason given for the denial by the Warden and she refuses to be answerable to anyone. She is also whimsical in this regard and does not apply the rules that she herself institutes uniformly over all residents. It is obvious that those who do not question her autocracy and her wrongdoing in the name of the office of the Warden are given special treatment while all those who protest against her excesses are victimised by being denied their lawful rights.
6) While in other hostels, the caretaker takes care of such complaints, the fact that the Warden employs a new caretaker and cashier every two weeks makes it difficult for the new employees to track and attend to such complaints. If the cashier and caretaker are changed every two weeks, she insists on getting a new guard for the hostel every day and also conducts interviews everyday for the same. At one point time, the hostel also witnessed a former guard in the campus being employed as a cashier for two months.
7) There is absolute lack of transparency in her functioning. When students who complain about her erratic behaviour are targeted with sudden hikes in their electricity bills, their complaints are not addressed in a transparent way. Students are not allowed to check their individual meters and the details of the units of electricity consumed are not revealed to the residents.
8) Despite several complaints being lodged, the Global Studies Programme students as well as other foreign students living in Yamuna Hostel are disappointed to see that no action has been taken to address their grievances. The warden has also indulged in suspicious acts such as deliberate delay in the issuing of cheques to refund security money and thereby causing financial losses to the students. There should be an investigation into the details of such cheques as to how many have been encashed, cancelled, issued as cash cheques so that one can establish if there has been any financial misappropriation.
9) In fact all sections of the J.N.U. community is aware of Dr Najmul Arifs ill treatment. Even JNU employed technicians like electricians, plumbers etc refuse to attend emergency complaints from the residents. This has created a great deal of inconvenience as girls have to live without the fan or lights till the electrician appointed by the warden comes on Friday.
B) Harassment and blatant exploitation of workers
1) Sanitation workers are being made to work for more than the stipulated 8 hours of work per day with absolutely no overtime payment. There are no overtime records maintained for workers and they are granted no holidays. In other words, they are made to work all days of the month but are paid for a maximum of only 26 days at the 8 hours per day rate.
2) Although the contract makes provisions for 3 sanitation workers, the Warden has fired the third worker without any reason more than a year and a half back, as a result of which the workers are not only underpaid but are also overworked. Though the representative of the contractor is meant to disburse their salaries before 10th of the month, their salaries are disbursed by the warden herself not before 15th of the month without maintaining any records. Neither is any payslip given to the workers.
3) The person who is marked in the attendance register as cleaner is the gardener of the hostel and the messenger attendant is entered in the guest register as gardener. Moreover, the messenger attendant who is paid by the students spends a great deal of time tending to the wardens private garden.
5) It is shocking to notice that the wrecked and autocratic behaviour of the warden is taking a violent turn. One of our sanitation worker was physically abused by the Warden. This is a shameful incident in an institution like JNU which stands for humanism and progressive values.

In the light of the above matters we urge you to suspend the Senior Warden of Yamuna Hostel pending enquiry. We would also like to request you to have student representation in the enquiry committee that will be constituted to look into the matter.

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Deborah NixonBy:
SustainabilityIn:
Petition target:
The Vice Chancellor

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