New Delhi: The agitating students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) today alleged that the photocopy shops in the campus are refusing to print any posters that have not been "verified" by the administration.
The campus photocopy shop owners claim that it is due to the "fear factor" that they are refusing to print posters of protests, but the students alleged that the varsity administration has instructed them to do so, a charge denied by JNU Registrar Bhupinder Zutshi.
"Two policemen in plain clothes came last night to my shop and asked me to identify the posters that I had printed. I told them that we do not check what is written on them and casually go ahead printing number of copies asked by the students," a photocopy kiosk owner in JNU campus told Press Trust of India on condition of anonymity.
"No body has asked us to not print but I decided not to print anything unless students get a slip saying the content has been verified by the administration. Many shop owners have been questioned by police and there is fear factor. Also we are here to earn our bread and butter and not participate in any politics," he added.
Agitated over the "attack on their democracy", the JNU Students Union (JNUSU) said in a statement, "it has come to our notice that the JNU administration has instructed all the photocopy shops in the campus not to print any posters or pamphlets of any student organisation. JNUSU strongly condemns this draconian, undemocratic decision."
"This blanket order banning the print of pamphlets and posters in JNU smacks of a brutal clampdown on culture of free speech, debate and discussion in our campus. We see this as the latest episode in the continuing assault on JNU's plural, democratic spaces.
"In JNU, pamphlets and posters have always been a crucial part of the process of speaking truth to power. This has clearly irked the powers-that-be. We cannot allow such an assault on democratic spaces under any dubious pretext," it added.
When contacted, JNU Registrar Bhupinder Zutshi said, "the university has not sent any verbal or written communication to the photocopy shop owners on campus. They run independently and if at all they have denied to do the printing they would have taken independent decisions. The administration has no role to play in it".
The students alleged that the response of the photocopy shop owners in the campus is a fallout of the police questioning those running these outlets in nearby Ber Sarai market.