VICTORY FOR PROTESTING STUDENTS OF TISS !
TISS STUDENTS HAVE RIGHT TO PROTEST PEACEFULLY RULES CIVIL COURT TISS STUDENTS STRIKE TO CONTINUE
In an historic decision in the fight for social justice at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, where students have been protesting for 35 days, Bombay City Civil Court has ruled in the favour of the protesting students upholding their right to protest. We, the general body of students, believe this to be a victory of the protesting students and that our rights have been upheld in the face of the institution’s attempts to stamp on the fundamental rights of students.The judge in Court 3 of the civil court ruled that the students have every right to protest peacefully inside the campus.
On 27th March, the TISS administration through their lawyer, issued legal notice to seven students, asking them to present themselves at Bombay City Civil Court for a hearing, giving the students only a day to respond. Moreover, some 15 students have been given memos threatening them to withdraw from protests in which they raised their legitimate concerns. Here, we would like to state that the institute used its resources and power to clearly intimidate the students. The legal notices were slapped on particular students, even after repeated attempts by the students, of trying to dialogue with the TISS administration regarding the status of the charter of demands. We the General Body of protesting students would like to state that, as institute has attempted to drag the students to the court, it means that there is a clear deficit of trust and unwillingness on the part of administration to dialogue on the major demand of fee waivers for SC, ST and OBC (NC) students availing the GoI-PMS scholarship. .We strongly condemn the reactionary and aggressive tactics of administration, of repeatedly trying to delegitimize the students protests. The administration has repeatedly been circulating, provocative and false notices across the campus regarding the students protests. Although we are students of TISS, we at the same time are also citizens of a democratic country,hence we have full right to also express our rights democratically in an institutional space.We believe that our, cause is truly just and that we are fighting for our right to scholarships.
During the court hearing the TISS Administration repeatedly accused the protesting students of “ransacking registrars offices”, creating blockades for over a “month”, “vandalism” etc. We strongly condemn the nature of false accusation that the Registrar as created through sending student memos and legal notices. We, categorically and with full responsibility would like to state that our protests have been done in a democratic manner and at no point any vandalism was done.
Yesterday on 27th March 2018, a mail was sent to the General Secretary stating that the meeting will be held with delegates to discuss on the charter of demands, but the institute today stepped back from the dialogue stating that the matter “now in court and is subjudice”.This is not
the first time the administration has gone back on its own commitment to dialogue with the students while we students have made effort after effort to meet the senior administration.
The institute has also engaged in individually targeting students from marginalised group by asking them to furnish individual apology letter. Further students were also targeted by Students Affairs Office and Students Protection Office and the hostel admin by denying bonafide certificate and refusing to accept GOI PMS forms . We would like to remind her that the the TISS Administration had kept the information regarding OBC NC has well as Freeships for over two years, and only revealed the said information after intervention of protesting students.
We feel that the institute had approached the court as strategy to break students movement, but we would strongly like to state that,we the the protesting students come from diverse backgrounds, but still stand united and such tactics of the institute will not break our resolve of seeking justice.Their lack of concern for access to higher education of oppressed communities is clearly visible in their approach towards the protesting students, most of whom come from these communities. In this context the question that we raise to TISS as a institute engaging in social work education has shown total disregard to future batches of students who come from marginalised communities which the institute claims to work for. The students have, always stood for the future batches. The protesting students belong to the institute, we feel that the institute is ours, hence we have every right to question and criticize the decision that it takes as we are the major stakeholders in it.
We have also in our capacity reached out to the central and state government to address the larger issue in the allocation of funds and dispersal of funds for GoI PMS.We would further like to state that in spite of the high-handedness of the institute resorting to legal action, which clearly indicates the intimidating atmosphere the institution is trying to create,we are still willing to dialogue with the administration as the cause of GOI PMS scholarship is much larger and greater , and we he protesting students truly believe in vision of social justice for all.
General Body 2018