JNU students stage protest outside campus auditorium over fee hike, curfew timings, dress code; traffic affected near varsity
Hundreds of students staged protests outside the JNU over fee hike, curfew timings and dress code restrictions in the varsity.
Hundreds of students staged protests outside the Jawaharlal Nehru University on Monday over fee hike, curfew timings and dress code restrictions in the varsity.
Students wanted to march towards the All India Council for Technical Education, where Vice President Venkaiah Naidu is addressing a convocation, but the gates have been barricaded.
The protests, are part of the agitation against the hostel manual and several other issues like restrictions by the administration on entry to the Parthasarathy Rocks, attempts to lock students' union office.
The Jawaharlal Nehru Students’ Union (JNUSU) has been on strike for the past two weeks against the “anti-student” policies of the varsity’s administration even as the university hosted its third convocation on Monday with Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu as the chief guest. Hundreds of JNU students protested outside the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) auditorium, where the university's convocation was being held, against the administration's "anti-students" policy.
The gates of the AICTE, around 3 km from the JNU, were locked and the security personnel were stationed in and outside the premises in wake of the protests that started in the morning. Barricades were placed outside the north and west gates of the JNU campus, as well as on the route between the AICTE auditorium and the JNU at Baba Balaknath Marg, near the traffic signal, underneath the flyover and near the venue, an officer said.
But students broke these blockades and marched towards the venue around 11.30 am. Some of the protesters have been detained, police said. With placards in their hands, the students were beating tambourine and raising slogans like "Delhi Police Go Back" and calling Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar a "thief".
Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal was not being able to come out of the venue. "JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh and vice president Saket Moon were asked to talk to the students to make way for the HRD minister. Police requested the protesters to move from the gate, but they refused," an officer said.
The JNUSU office-bearers met Pokhriyal who assured them that their demands would be looked into. They, however, were not able to meet the Vice-Chancellor. The protesters were also raising slogans "we want Vice-Chancellor".
"Historic day for us that we broke barricades, reached the convocation venue and met the minister," Ghosh said. "This could happen because we were united." "This is not the end of our movement. We urged the HRD minister to ask the V-C to have a dialogue with the students," the JNUSU president said. "It is due to the V-C that things have come to be like this."
The HRD minister has promised that students' union would be called for meeting to the ministry. "We will have to ask the executive council members to reject the hostel manual in its upcoming meeting on Wednesday," Ghosh said.
Students wanted to meet the vice chancellor and demand withdrawal of the draft hostel manual, which they claimed has provisions for fee hike, dress code and curfew timings.
"We have been protesting for over 15 days but the vice-chancellor is not willing to talk to us. The fee has been hiked in the university. Around 40 percent of the students here come from very poor families," one of the protesting students told ANI. Another student said that the university is subsidised so that the poor can also study here. "How will a poor student be able to study here if the hostel fee is over six to seven thousand rupees," the student asked.
Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru Students' Union organises protest over different issues including fee hike, outside university campus. A protester says,'For last 15 days, we're protesting against fee hike. At least 40% students come from poor background,how'll these students study here?' pic.twitter.com/uurYQLNtga
— ANI (@ANI) November 11, 2019
The protests, which started in the morning, are a part of the agitation against the hostel manual and several other issues like restrictions by the administration on entry to the Parthasarathy Rocks, attempts to lock students' union office, according to the students.
They claimed that the manual has provisions for the fee hike, curfew timings and dress code restrictions.
Meanwhile, the police were seen requesting students to keep their protest peaceful. "You are resorting to violence. Please keep your protest peaceful," a police official was seen telling the protesters as a group of students dragged a police barricade.
Vehicular traffic near JNU was affected on Monday morning due to the ongoing demonstration by students. The Delhi Traffic Police in a tweet on Monday said, "Obstruction in traffic from Baba Gangnath Marg to JNU due to demonstration."
Traffic Movement is closed on Nelson Mandela Marg from PS Vasant Vihar to PS Vasant Kunj due to demonstration. Kindly avoid the stretch.
— Delhi Traffic Police (@dtptraffic) November 11, 2019
JNUSU had said on Sunday that it would be staging protests at the convocation venue against some of the policies of the varsity's administration. The students' union has been on a strike against the Draft Hostel Manual which was approved by the Inter-Hall Administration. They have said they will not end the strike till the Hostel Manual is withdrawn.
Monday's protest is also part of the students' agitation against the hostel manual and several other issues like restrictions by the administration on entry to Parthasarathy Rocks, attempts to lock students' union office, etc, they said. Last year, the varsity held its second convocation after a period of 46 years.
Last year, the students' union called for boycotting the convocation, accusing JNU V-C M Jagadesh Kumar of "muzzling their democratic rights". The first convocation of the university was held in 1972 when G Parthasarathi was the vice-chancellor. Vice-Chancellor Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar had on 8 November alleged that some students had kept Associate Dean Dr Vandana Mishra in illegal captivity as part of their protest.
The candidates who have been awarded their degrees from 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019 will be eligible to be conferred their PhD degree at the convocation.
With inputs from agencies