JNU fee-hike row: March towards Parliament blocked, students detained after showdown with Police
The police detained some students of Jawaharlal Nehru University after they broke the barricades stopping their march to Parliament.
The JNU fee hike row seems to be far from over as thousands of JNU students took to the streets once again on Monday from the university campus towards the Parliament. The students demanding complete rollback of proposed hostel fee hike, were stopped a kilometer away from the university gate after a massive face-off with the cops. Despite the authorities imposing prohibitory orders under Section 144 in and outside the university, the students continued their march. Qasim Masumi, a JNU student representative claims that around 50 of them, including JNUSU President Aishe Ghosh have been detained after they broke the police barricades.
Delhi: Section 144 has been imposed near the Parliament ahead of the protest march by Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union https://t.co/GdjYVlKDi1— ANI (@ANI) November 18, 2019
"It's a way to appeal to MPs to fight on our behalf inside the floor of the house," said JNUSU. Earlier today, the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry appointed a three-member high-powered committee to address the concerns regarding the fee hike. For the past three weeks, students have been protesting inside the administration block of the university against the increase in hostel fee, even though JNU announced a rollback last Wednesday.
R. Subrahmanyam, Education Secretary,— ANI (@ANI) November 18, 2019
Ministry of HRD: MHRD has appointed a high power committee for discussion with students and administration for peaceful resolution of all issues. #JNU pic.twitter.com/J7Y9GlhfsT
The fee hike — set to come into effect from the next academic year — will nearly double the annual fee for JNU students living in hostels from the current Rs 27,600-32,000 annually up to Rs 55,000-61,000.
The new fee includes a mufti-fold hike in room rent — from Rs 10/20 per month to Rs 300/600 per month. A new service charge of Rs 1,700 per month has also been added — taking the monthly hostel fee up to Rs 2,000-2,300. Other charges, like establishment (Rs 2,200 per annum), mess (Rs 3,000 per month) and annual fees (Rs 300) remain the same.
In fact, despite the partial rollback, when the revised fee structure comes into effect, JNU will become the most expensive central university.
The protesting students have dubbed this partial rollback an 'eye-wash' and a 'lollipop', saying that the partial rollback still doesn't help the students hailing from underprivileged backgrounds. In fact when Asiaville spoke to former student of JNU, Umar Khalid about this, even he called this move just another attempt by the authorities to hide it's 'nefarious & anti-student designs'.
Coming in support of the protesting JNU students, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said, "JNU under seige; such a massive deployment of forces was not seen even during the Emergency. A peaceful protest march to Parliament against the unprecedented fee hikes is being forcibly stopped by the police. Strongly condemn this denial of basic democratic right to protest."
JNU under seige; such a massive deployment of forces was not seen even during the Emergency.— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) November 18, 2019
A peaceful protest march to Parliament against the unprecedented fee hikes is being focibly stopped by the police.
Strongly condemn this denial of basic democratic right to protest. pic.twitter.com/Fdhoj62wBN
Though the protesting students were stopped, the issue was raised in the first day of the winter session of the Parliament. BSP leader Danish Ali demanded in the Lok Sabha that the government should ensure that poor students were not denied the facility of higher education for an affordable fee. He stated that the education system of the country was being privatised and corporatised under the rule of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The matter has now become political one, with Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera saying that the crackdown by Police shows that the government is afraid of the youth. On the other hand, MP Ramesh Bidhuri has said that he will "take up the matter of violence by the protesting students in the ongoing in Parliament session".