Hostel fee hike: JNU students intensify protest, varsity shifts council meet venue outside campus

NEW DELHI: As JNU students intensified their protest on Wednesday for rollback of the hostel fee hike, the university administration had to shift a meeting of the Executive Council outside the campus fearing disruption due to the agitation.

The Executive Council is the highest decision-making body of the Jawaharlal Nehru University.

The students from Left-backed political outfits have been protesting against the hike in hostel fees for almost a fortnight, and the representatives from RSS student wing ABVP have also planned a march to the UGC office over similar demands.

The students’ union claims the draft hostel manual, approved by the Inter-Hall administration, has provisions for hostel fee hike, dress code and curfew timings.

The students had gathered outside the convention centre on the campus but, to press their demands effectively, shifted their protest to the administration block, which houses the vice chancellor’s office and the office of other senior administration officials, on Wednesday.

Beating their daflis, they shouted slogans against the JNU administration and the vice chancellor.

The JNU Teachers Association, representatives of which attend the EC meeting, alleged they were not informed about the change in the venue to the office of the Association of Indian Universities near ITO.

JNUTA president DK Lobiyal said the association condemns the decision to shift the venue.

“We have a range of issues, apart from the hostel manual, like promotion of teachers, so that our views can be raised. For last three-four years, even the Academic Council meetings have been postponed or shifted. We condemn it and the VC should not handle the university like this,” Lobiyal said.

“The meeting was supposed to be held at the convention centre inside the campus but when three EC members — professors Sachidanand Sinha, Moushumi Basu and Baviskar Sharad Prahlad — reached the venue, there was no meeting,” Lobiyal added.

On Monday, the students had gheraoed AICTE building, the venue for varsity’s convocation, during which Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal was stuck for six hours.

“That day police used tear gas, lathicharge on us. Why were people protesting that day even after getting degrees. Our protest will continue till the vice chancellor meets us,” JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh said.

“The administration said the students didn’t want to have a dialogue while the situation is the other way round. We have been approaching the administration but there is no body to talk too,” she added.

The students have been demanding the withdrawal of the draft hostel manual, in which service charges of Rs 1,700 were introduced and the one-time mess security fee, which is refundable, has been hiked from Rs 5,500 to Rs 12,000.

The rent for a single-seater room has been increased from Rs 20 per month to Rs 600 per month, while the rent for a double-seater room has been increased from Rs 10 to Rs 300 per month. (AGENCIES)