24 August 2016| Library officials removed bags and laptops that were kept unattended in the reading rooms in response to allegations by students who complained about not getting places to sit.
The incident took place at 10:30 a.m. and those students who had their belongings seized were required to write a letter and get consent from both the security officer and the section officer before getting them back. Laptops that were locked to the chairs were either taken to the section officer’s room or moved away to a corner.
‘I approached the staff who had removed my belongings outside and spoke with utmost respect [to enquire about the incident]…. One of the men spoke in a very rude and gruffly manner and all I wanted to ask was where are you [the library officials] when people are vanished for seven to eight hours straight? When a friend of mine asked the person who spoke rudely to me for his name, to which another man replied Ramesh C. Gaur, only later did I come to know that Ramesh C. Gaur is the university librarian and I was lied to. When someone has a genuine complain, you give a wrong name; is this what the administration does? To talk rudely and make people feel insecure?’, shared Shreyashi Ganguly, a student of CSSS who had gone away for an hour’s class only to find her belongings displaced.
Most of the students, with whom our reporters spoke, had gone outside to receive calls, have tea, use washrooms, or search for books. There was no notice or warning put up prior to the seizure of belongings and students questioned the authorities on whom the responsibility falls should anything get lost. Most of them agreed that occupying seats for friends and leaving a seat unattended for a long time is unfair but action has to be taken in a systematic and proper manner.
Upon further enquiry into the matter, a library official shared that people sitting adjacent to unoccupied seats were questioned on the duration of the absence of the students following which action was taken. Students though mentioned that the questioning was only selective and that the library officials did not have any proper source of information on how long the belongings were left unattended.
When one of our reporters tried to mimic a complain the following day to the Assistant Librarian, S. C. Sharma, he responded, ‘us din hum uttaye the aur ab hum phir aaj utva denge aur phir wahi samasya hogi … notice toh lagva rakha hai … reservation toh hai nahi … dekhte hai abhi … librarian ko aane do’ (That day we had removed them and again we shall do it today and we will have the same problem … The notice has been there … There are no reservations … we shall see … let the librarian come).
Upon enquiring with the security personnel seated outside the reading room, he mentioned that no notices of such a kind are placed anywhere in the reading rooms.
Iqbal Vavad and Dhaval Bhate are students at CSSS and work for the News Pool of The Informer.