CCTVs at JNU server room not vandalised but shut down on January 3: RTI

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On January 5, masked men and women ran riot on JNU campus injuring over 30 students and teachers. (Express Photo)

Contradicting the claims made by the Jawaharlal Nehru University administration that agitating students damaged biometric systems and CCTVs at the server room, the varsity, in an RTI reply, said the main server at the Centre for Information System was shut down on January 3 and had gone down the next day "due to power supply disruption".

The RTI reply also stated that "no continuous and entire" CCTV footage of cameras installed at North/Main gate of the JNU campus from 3 pm to 11 pm on January 5 was available, the day when masked men had entered the campus and attacked students and teachers with iron rods and sledgehammers.

"The main server of JNU was shut down on January 3 and had gone down the next day due to power supply disruption. None of the CCTV cameras were vandalised from December 30, 2019, to January 8, 2020," the varsity, in its response to the RTI, said.

The RTI reply also said a total of 17 fibre optical cables were damaged on January 4 at 1 pm. "None of the biometric systems were broken or destroyed from December 30, 2019, to January 8, 2020," it said.

The RTI reply had also sought information on whether the CIS office contained the servers of the CCTV cameras in and around the campus. To this, the varsity stated that the servers of CCTV cameras are located in the data centre and not at the CIS office.

The JNU administration, in an FIR, had claimed that on January 3 a group of students wearing masks had forcibly entered the CIS and switched off the power supply, making the servers dysfunctional, thereby affecting a range functions, including CCTV surveillance, biometric attendance and internet services.

Even JNU V-C Jagadesh Kumar in an interview with the Indian Express admitted the same. "We are struggling to collect the CCTV data now for the fifth (January) incident because for several hours or data centre was dysfunctional because of the agitating students who tried to damage it. Now, why did they do it on third and fourth? Why did they try to bring down the servers? And then on fifth this incident happen, was there something that they were aware was going to happen?" Kumar said.