Thousands Of JNU Students Protest Outside HRD Ministry, Demand Complete Withdrawal Of Fee Hike
NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 29— Continuing their series of big protests against hostel fee hike, thousands of students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) marched from the campus to the Union Human Resource Development Ministry (MHRD) office near the Parliament House on Friday.
Holding placards and banners in their hands with messages against fee hike and commercialization and privatization of education, the JNU students and many others who had come from other universities in their support, were demanding complete rollback of the proposed hostel fee hike and hostel manual. Today’s was their fifth massive protest demonstration on this issue in the last 30 days.
Besides the roll-back of hike fee regime and hostel manual, the students were also demanding removal of Vice Chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar alleging that he has not held a single meeting with students to resolve the issue.
Massive deployment of security forces was seen outside the Ministry building as hundreds of policemen and other security forces manned the entry and exits of Dr Rajendra Prasad road where the MHRD office is situated. The forces were also equipped with water cannons to use in case the protestors went out of control.
The JNU administration came up with new hostel fee regime, approximately increasing the fee around 1000% in the end of October this year, triggering protests and boycott of the classes and examinations, which have continued till date.
Following two big protests by students, the varsity has partially rolled back the fee twice in the last two weeks. However, the students have rejected both offers and are rigid on restoration of the existing fee structure. The major proposed changes are room rent (from Rs 20 per month to Rs 600 for single-bed room and Rs 10 to Rs 300 for double-bed room) and utility charges (from nil to Rs 1000 monthly). Earlier the varsity had proposed to charge for utilities as per actual consumption.
In the last one month, the students have held four big protests over the issue. The first was on Nov 11 when they protested at the convocation venue of the university where Vice President of India and HRD Minster were guests. On Nov 18, they tried to march from campus to Parliament but were stopped mid-way by the police. The police had also resorted to lathi-charge resulting in the injuries to several students. On Nov 23, thousands of students of JNU, DU, Jamia Millia, teachers and people from different walks of life had taken out a big march from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar. On Nov 27, the students had made a huge human chain at the Connaught Place to press their demand.
Addressing the students at the Connaught Place protest, JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh had said that the agitation aimed at bringing down the hike in fee in most of the public funded educational institutions and refurbish JNU’s image.
“While media is propagating negative image of JNUSU, it is not writing anything about the absence of JNU’s registrar and vice-chancellor from the university. JNU is a central university and it is surprising that its registrar and VC are not coming to the university but the media is not questioning the administration”, she said.