On February 5th, a group of students from Delhi University begun on a protest outside the Central Library in North campus, which currently closes to students every day at 7pm, and Sundays at 6pm. The students have demanded 24-hour access to the library, and a cause has been written in 33 different languages outside the building. Though this demand has been on the agenda of political organisations in the University for the last 25 years, any concrete step is yet to be taken by the authorities.
A first-year law student at the University, Raja Choudhary, says, ‚ÄúWe will continue our protest until we receive an official notification accepting our demands. In case of use of force or in the absence of an official response over the next few days, we are all prepared to change the form of our protest. It could either be a hunger strike or a call to occupy the library.‚Äù
The student protesters are not affiliated to any political parties, and claim their right for a reading room which will be open 24*7. Meanwhile, the administration has been quite brash with the students, and has asked them to vacate the library premises stating ‚Äúdisturbance‚Äù to the students using the library as well as it proper functioning; while the ‚ÄòUdaan Youth Fest‚Äô being organised very conveniently right in front of the library. Another bogus reason cited by the administration for not allowing the access is ‚Äòsafety of female students‚Äô, which could be at stake when and if they work late hours at the library.
The students‚Äô demand is in the spirit of public universities, and the numerous private reading rooms that have cropped up around the campus provide potency to it. A 24-hour access to the library reading room would provide immense opportunities to students from all social and economic strata. The University authorities should definitely keep these interests of the students in mind before committing further action on this matter.