The protest against hostel fee hike and draconian hostel rules in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has entered its second week.
On Wednesday, 13th November, the hostel fee hike was rolled back partially during the Executive Council (EC) meeting. The decision was announced through a tweet by R Subrahmanyam, Education Secretary, Government of India, which was later retweeted by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).
According to the revised structure, the single room rent has been revised to Rs 200 per month, while the double bed rent has been revised to Rs 100 per month. The outrage surrounding the new manual emerged as the single room rent of Rs 20 per month was increased to Rs 600 per month whereas, double room rent was increased from Rs 10 per month to Rs 300 per month. However, the one-time mess security remains at Rs 5,500, the service charges remain at 1,700 per month along with the earlier utility charges. Moreover, Economically Weaker Section (EWS) students would receive assistance.
The Executive Council (EC) is the supreme decision-making body of the Varsity, which also has representatives from the JNU Teachers Association (JNUTA). The venue for the EC meeting was changed on Wednesday without prior information to the Students’ Union and the JNUTA. DK Lobiyal, JNUTA president quoted to PTI, “The meeting was supposed to be held at the Convention Centre inside the campus but when three EC members, professor Sachidanand Sinha, Moushumi Basu, and Baviskar Sharad Prahlad reached the venue, there was no meeting there.”
JNU students won’t call off the protest any time soon; if the draft manual is approved, it will be implemented soon. 14th November was observed as National Protest Day, wherein JNUTA along with DUTA, Federation of Central Universities’ Teachers’ Associations (FEDCUTA) and several student bodies rallied to save public-funded education in India, from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar.
Among the discontentment against the administration, activist and former JNU student, Umar Khalid spoke to The Quint, “The government and the JNU Vice Chancellor, Jagadesh Kumar, is giving the matter another twist. First, they said that the economically weaker sections will be aided by the administration, later the administration has come out with a press release stating that Below Poverty Line (BPL) students will be given concessions in the fee structure.” He further questioned the Government and media’s stance in propagating lies.
JNUSU’s former President Sai Balaji acknowledged the curfew and dress codes withdrawal, and said, “The government has played a cruel joke on the marginalised sections of students today.” The JNU administration contested that the Varsity has not increased the fee for the past 19 years, regarding which JNUSU demanded a discussion before the proposed hike. The protest for the same continues.
Featured Image Credits: Noihrit Gogoi for DU Beat
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