We are living in oppressive times, where any form of opposition or dissent is mercilessly crushed. Does this reflect a democracy or tyranny?
The students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) are at loggerheads with the administration over the new hostel manual which mentions drastic changes in rules and an alarmingly oppressive fee hike. They are fighting for the Right to Education, which is not a privilege but a fundamental right that all of us are entitled to.
JNU enrols 40% of its student from poor backgrounds with parental income less than Rs. 12,000 per month. They cannot under any possible circumstance afford any form of fee hike. Students are therefore demanding withdrawal of the draft hostel manual as per which-
Service charges of Rs. 1,700 are added.
One-time mess security fee hiked from Rs. 5,500 to Rs. 12,000.
Rent for single seater increased from Rs. 20 to Rs. 600 per month.
Rent for double seater increased from Rs. 10 to Rs. 300 per month.
A 999 % fee hike from Rs. 2,740 to Rs. 30,100 annually…..!!!!!
The students said they are facing an “academic emergency” and have demanded the removal of M. Jagadeesh Kumar “for his inability to carry out the role of a Vice Chancellor in any reasonable and democratic manner”.
Hundreds of students protested peacefully with banners and slogans like “Delhi police go back”, “Reject IHA manual”, “JNU is not your estate”outside the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) premises where the varsity’s third convocation was being addressed by the Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu.
But what was the response of authorities?
Over 600 security personnel were deployed to handle the protest. Why? In what possible way were students a threat to anyone? The police attacked peaceful students with water cannons and used brute force against them leading to several of them sustaining injuries…!!
With the news spreading like wildfire across the country and the mass support of people to protesting students, the JNU executive committee announces a major “roll- back” in the hostel fee and proposes a scheme for economic assistance to the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) students. The Education Secretary R. Subrahmanyam tweeted “Time to get back to classes”…
But in actuality the partial roll – back was announced only for the students who are below poverty line (BPL)..!!!!!!
This extremely devious attempt was promptly called an “eyewash” by the Jawaharlal University Students Union (JNUSU). They boldly said “We reject this sham propaganda and selective usage of facts which is eyewash. The HRD secretary, while announcing the so called roll back, has the arrogance to advice us: “go back to classes”. With the fee hike still in place, not only the students will be going out of classes but also out of the JNU”
The Vice Chancellor has been missing from the JNU campus for the last month and has been holding the Executive Committee meeting in complete secrecy, 18 kilometres away from JNU. To add to that the Delhi police blocked all entrances to JNU to restrict students from approaching the meeting!!
Are we supposed to sit back while the University who conducts multiple levels of evaluation for admission and guarantees subsidised education, goes back on its responsibility and leaves its students in lurch?
Spark strongly condemns the repressive steps taken by the authorities of JNU and urges everyone to extend their support to JNU students.