The student fraternity of Delhi, led by the All India Students’ Association (AISA), marched from the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in the afternoon of 8th February 2017.
Demanding the rollback of the metro fare hike and metro concessional passes for students, the students engaged in spirited sloganeering like, “Aaj Hartal Kal Hartal, Naa Mane Toh Dera Daal” (we’ll protest every day, until our demands are met), “Saste Metro Ka Adhikar Mangte, Nahi Kisise Bheek Mangte” (we will ask for our right to affordable metro, we will not beg), “Delhi Police Sharam Karo, Sharam Nahi Toh Doob Maro” (Shame on you, Delhi Police).
Once in front of the PMO, the students were met with barricades and a cordon of policemen blocking their way.
As the students ambushed a few barricades, DU AISA President, Kawalpreet Kaur gave an ultimatum to the police, “The Delhi Police has 10 minutes. If within 10 minutes, a representative of the PMO doesn’t communicate with us, then no matter how many thousands of barricades you put up, we’ll break them all.”
Responding to questions regarding their motives, she declared, “We’re not here to engage in ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ with the PM. Whether you give us green tea or black tea, we’re here solely for two demands: one, roll back the metro fare hike; and two, provide metro concessional passes to students.”
Kaur, in her impassioned speech, further said, “Students don’t have an earning source. The fare hike has affected our monthly budget. Not only the students, but Delhi’s common people are being affected. That’s why Delhi Metro ridership has lost 1 crore people. We want to ask Modiji, “who are the 1 crore people?”. They are the common people who shed their blood and sweat every day. If those 1 crore people aren’t being able to afford the metro, what’s the use of the metro being a public transport? Shut it down.”
When there were still 8 minutes left, the gathering received a notification from the PMO which asked a delegation to be sent inside the office. Thereafter a delegation of 5 students representing the 5 different universities- DU, JNU, IPU, AUD and Jamia Milia, was sent inside.
Following this, Madhurima Kundu, Delhi State Vice President of AISA told the correspondent, “PM Modi always talks about the youth being the future of our nation. When today, the youth has come out to the streets he has to take responsibility and listen to our demands.”
On being asked about their future course of action, AISA State Secretary Niraj Kumar remarked with resolve, “The delegation met a representative of the PMO, and handed over the memorandum of demands. The PMO has taken a time period of seven days within which they would reciprocate to our demands. Meanwhile, we shall continue to struggle against this injustice.”
Feature Image Credits: Hemantika Singh and Prakash, AISA
Vaibhavi Sharma Pathak