Student organisations have organised multiple protests till now, raising various demands related to the admission process and alleged fee hikes. In the series of protests, a one-day hunger strike was called on 20th June.
Following the protests of 11th June, 14th June, and a press conference and dharna on 19th June, the protesting student organisations sat on a hunger strike on 20th June against what they have called a “faulty admission process” and fee hike. The hunger strike went on from 10 am to 10 pm in front of Gate No. Four of the Arts Faculty building, and saw the participation of seven student organisations – All India Students’ Association (AISA), Bhagat Singh Chhatra Ekta Manch (BSCEM), Collective, Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS), Parivartankami Chhatra Sangathan (Pachhas), Pinjra Tod and Students’ Federation of India (SFI).
A total of seven students, one from each organisation, sat on a hunger strike. These included Amarjeet from AISA, Nishant from BSCEM, Udita from Collective, Rohit from KYS, Aman from Pachhas, Diya from Pinjra Tod, and Varkey from SFI.
A press release issued by AISA stated, “The registration fees for OBC category has seen a drastic increase and is placed at INR 750, whereas the EWS category pays INR 300; the criteria for both being an income of below INR 8 lakh per annum.” The press release further mentioned about the previous protests and read, “Seeing disappointment again on the 19th, students decided to take up the method of hunger strike. From today (20th June), Amarjeet from AISA with six other students began the hunger strike and shall continue until the Vice Chancellor comes out and talks to the students.”
A press release had been issued by SFI also on 19th June, which read, “Activists of SFI and other organisations held a press conference and dharna (on 19th June) at gate number four of Arts Faculty, University of Delhi, protesting the fee hike of the OBC registration and faulty admission process. A delegation from the protestors met the Deputy Dean of Students’ Welfare, and submitted a memorandum. He made several verb promises, but nothing concrete came of it. By 4:30 pm the students were attacked by the security guard(s) and removed from gate number four. Later the police also intervened in the matter and attempted to intimidate the students. The protesters have decided to move for a hunger strike from tomorrow.”
Diya Davis from Pinjra Tod, one of the protesters who sat on the hunger strike, told DU Beat, “This (the hunger strike) was after the protest outside the Office gate (of the Dean of Students’ Welfare) was forcefully disrupted by the security personnel the previous day. Protesters were forcefully removed from the protest site on 19th June. There was no response from the admin.” She also said that the students were removed from the protest site “using force by the security guards”, on 19th June.
Another protester, Aman Bhartiya from Pachhas, remarked regarding the strike, “It was hoped that someone will come from (the) administration to discuss the issues, but unfortunately it did not happen. So we are now going to file a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) within 1-2 days. Also a mass protest has been called for, by all student organizations, on 24th June.”
DU Beat had reported about the previous protests and the demands raised. These have majorly centred around the differential fee requirements of students from Other Backward Classes (OBC) and Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) categories. Other demands include: setting the entrance exam question paper in Hindi as well; providing “proper facilities” at the exam centres; revoking the fee hike in Ramjas College & Bharati College, and other related issues.
Read the previously published reports here for a comprehensive and chronological understanding of the protest:
The protesting organisations are now planning to take the matter to the courts by filing a PIL. A larger protest has also been scheduled for 24th June.
Feature Image Credits: Amarjeet Kumar Singh from AISA