Students protest use of State machinery
Students of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, (IIT-B) on Thursday released a statement expressing solidarity with the protests taking place in various State universities due to fee hikes. They also condemned the police action against students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in the Capital, and extended support to them.
The statement protested the use of institutional and State machinery to stifle dissent on campuses and spoke in support of students fighting against the new draft hostel manual, alleged to be a step towards making State universities an exclusive place for students of upper castes and classes. It also blamed the current government for destroying public sector education in the country.
“From a repeated hike in fees in different universities to seat cuts and scrapping of fellowships, the government is shamelessly trying to promote a model of privatised education, where the majority of students from marginalised sections of society will not be allowed to access the academic world,” the statement said.
A student pursuing a PhD in Science and Humanities at IIT-B referred to the recent fee hike and scrapping of stipends in all IITs, saying the students’ protest also extended to these instances. “We have decided to form a collective which will write a letter signed by students to the HRD minister over the issue. The idea is to break the narrative of JNU students as ‘trouble makers’ and IITians as ‘peaceful scholars’,” he said.
The students also demanded justice for Dr. Brijesh Kumar Rai, assistant professor, Department of EEE, IIT Guwahati who allegedly unearthed corruption scams on the campus. They requested the Ministry of Human Resource Development to immediately cancel his termination and sought an unbiased and immediate investigation into all the issues Dr. Rai raised.
A protest on the IIT-B campus on Thursday was attended by around 120 students who distributed pamphlets and displayed placards. Another protest is being planned.
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