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Fact Check: Media misrepresents JNU RTI reply, falsely claiming 'server room was not damaged'

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Summary

RTI reply was taken out of context by media houses to claim that the RTI reply does not match with FIR filed in the case, and hence, no server room was damaged at the JNU.

An RTI reply to the queries related to JNU controversy during the first week of January, abuzz the mainstream media and social media with misinformation. As soon as the RTI reply came in the public eye, a number of media houses started publishing reports that 'there was no vandalism of the server room by JNU students on Jan 3 as claimed by JNU VC.' 

Following the reports, the Congress party claimed the same from their verified Twitter account. 

However, the claims made by media houses are incorrect and misleading

The RTI was filed by Saurav Das, a member of the National Campaign for People's Right to Information (NCPRI), under the "life and liberty" clause. The RTI sought information about vandalism at CCTV server room at the North/Main gate of the JNU campus, but as there is no such server room at that place, the reply stated t ‘None’ to the question about the vandalism at that server room. But this reply was taken out of context by media houses to claim that the RTI reply does not match with FIR filed in the case, and hence, no server room was damaged at the JNU.

Clearly, one can see that the petitioner had asked about details of the server room located at the North/Main gate of the JNU campus, along with CCTV camera details, and that whether any vandalism incident had taken place at the North/Main gate server room where CCTV cameras are installed, with details of the incidents. In reply to the first question, JNU stated that there is no server room at the North/Main gate, and they had replied 'none' to the next question as the server room does not exist. As there is no server room at the concerned location, which is the North/Main gate, it is anticipated that there was no vandalism, and vandalism had happened at the CIS data center. Another reply to a question on connections at the server room also states that there is no server room at the North/Main gate.

And in reply to Question 1, the RTI reply clearly states the CIS server room was disrupted on two occasions, i.e. on 3rd and 4th January.  As per reports, the RTI reply stated that ‘none’ of the biometric systems were broken or destroyed from December 30, 2019, to January 8, 2020. 

 

This claim remains consistent with previous statements made by JNU authorities when registrar Pramod Kumar had issued a statement on the 3rd of January saying, “At around 1 pm on January 3, a group of students using masks on their faces forcibly entered the office of the Centre for Information System, switched off the power supply, forcibly evicted all the technical staff, and made the servers dysfunctional.”

 Regarding the questions related to CCTVs, the reply said that the server of CCTVs is located at the Data Center and not the CIS. It further stated that further details regarding CCTVs couldn’t be disclosed due to reasons of security.

The JNU authorities also issued a clarification after the widespread misinformation that the reply to the RTI was related to the specific location and all the information mentioned in the FIR and other complaints are in line with facts.

The JNU stated, "All FIRs and other complaints filed with police are in-line with the actual incidents that took place on January 3 and do not deviate from actual facts. The JNU administration reiterates that a group of masked students came to the CIS Data Centre premises on January 3, 2020, and forcibly evicted the technical staff, switched off the power supply, locked the premises and squatted in front of the main entrance to the CIS Data Centre without providing any access to the center.” 

“Damage to the CIS Data Centre server room was caused on January 4 by a group of miscreants who broke open one of the door-windows of the premises and entered the server room. Once inside, they turned off the servers and severely damaged the fire optic cables, power supplies, broke the biometric systems inside the room. The miscreants then started sloganeering and intimidated the technical staff from entering the server room,” the clarification further says. 

Hence, it is quite clear that the information given in RTI's reply was about the specific location. The information was twisted and used out of context in order to present a different picture. 

Note: You can reach out to us at facthunt.in[at]gmail dot com if you find any issue with our articles.

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