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Fact Check: Did JNU admin lie about vandalisation of server room as claimed by India Today's journalist?

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Summary

India today's journalist claim that the servers were not damaged in campus as the JNU administration has sent email during that period is absurd and misleading as the University is using a third-party email server from Google and is independent of the server which was used for registration purposes on January 3 and 4 and was damaged allegedly by left-wing students. 

On 11th Jan, India Today's journalist Tanushree Pandey tweeted, "@IndiaToday accesses mails sent from the server of Communication & Info Services, which was down acc to #JNU admin after left students vandalised server room. Administration said that registration process couldn't take place because server was down. So how did the mass mails go?".

With claims of emails sent by JNU administration, she hinted at no damage for servers as stated by the JNU administration.

Another journalist and JNU alumni Arvind Gunasekar also made similar claims. He tweeted, "JNU VC had said that Communication and Information Service was vandalised by students on Jan 4 and so CCTVs weren’t working on Jan 5th...University’s digital services came to a stand still till Jan 8. If so, how was this mail sent by CIS (mailing server) on Jan 5 at 1.58 PM ?!"

How the JNU administration sent emails when the server room was vandalized?

The claim that JNU administration can't send email when server room is down is based on the belief that JNU is using the same server for sending emails, that is used for other activities like registration for a semester and Wi-Fi access in the campus. However, this is not the case. 

In the screenshot of the email shared on social media, we can see that emails have been sent through notice@jnu.ac.in.

According to the MXtoolweb site, the email server of “jnu.ac.in” is hosted on Google servers and not on the servers which are damaged inside the JNU campus. A IP location lookup of associated IP addresses points to Google headquarters at Mountain View, California, the address Google uses to register its servers.

Google Suite, a corporate solution from Google that includes the facility to use Gmail with custom domain names, for all its email needs. Therefore, the email servers are not located inside the JNU campus, but they are located in the cloud server operated by tech giant Google.

With the above information it is clear that although JNU uses servers located in the campus for other IT-related activities, it is not hosting its own email server. As they are using Gmail services, their mails are hosted by Google, not by CIS at JNU. Therefore, the JNU administration can still send and receive emails from any computer connected to the internet and is not dependent on the JNU network.

As the CIS servers and Wi-Fi access were disabled in the campus allegedly by left-wing students, it is possible that the computers used by the JNU administration were connected to the internet independently or with a separate network which was still functioning, and it was not dependent on the servers which were damaged as claimed the ‘journalists’.

In conclusion, India today's journalist claim that the servers were not damaged in campus as the JNU administration has sent email during that period is absurd and misleading as the University is using a third-party email server from Google and is independent of the server which was used for registration purposes on January 3 and 4 and was damaged allegedly by left-wing students. 

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