hunger strike


Hindu College Boys’ Hostel ended its strike on Wednesday, 26th February 2020 after the administration agreed to their demands. Three students were on a hunger strike since Monday. 

The residents of Hindu College Boys’ Hostel had posed the list of long-standing demands to the Principal on Monday, 24th February 2020 and on her failure to address them, they began an indefinite strike at 1:30 pm in front of the college administration. Around 50-60 students were protesting against three major issues:

  1. Merit criterion that was increased for the readmission of second and third years including PWD students
  2. Resolving of Wi-Fi problems. 
  3. Reinstallation of hostel boundaries that were broken for the construction of a food joint PAM (Pizza and More) within the hostel premises. 

The present criterion for admissions and retention of seats in the hostel is 6.5 CGPA for Arts and 7.0 for Science and Commerce courses and considered averse to the students participating in extracurricular activities or preparing for entrance exams. The residents demanded revision in the re-admission criteria, decreasing it to the previous 6 CGPA for Arts/Humanities courses and 6.5 CGPA for Science and Commerce courses and scrapping it altogether for Persons With Disabilities (PwD) students. In the official application to the Principal, the President of the Hostel Union writes that in case a student fails to maintain the criteria then his contribution in ECA and Sports should be considered. 


Image Caption: Students write to the Principal for redressal of their demands. 

Regarding the Wi-Fi issue a resident of the hostel quotes, “Wi-Fi concerns the accessibility of study material to the students since DU servers provide access to academic websites and even general connectivity considering the poor signals around the campus.” In fact, a payment of Rs 3,500 was taken at the beginning of the academic year for replacing the existing Wi-Fi system but no action was taken. 

Pizza and More (PAM) is a shop in the college that was being shifted in one of the hostel lawns since a new building was being built over there. According to the students, the construction of the cafe in the hostel lawns is an attack on their democratic spaces where they can sit, talk, organize events or play cricket. A resident anonymously told us, “The decision of PAM being constructed in our hostel lawns indicates the increasing privatization in our college. Moreover, it would create inconvenience for the residents especially the ones residing in rooms facing these lawns since their privacy would be in threat and also the cooking would cause a lot of smoke”. Some parts of the construction were started without the consent of the hostel union after which it was destroyed by the students the very next day.  

The students ended their strike on Wednesday, 26th February 2020 after two of their three demands were accepted. They have been assured by the authorities that they will look into the Wi-Fi problems and construction of PAM. The residents reported, “The Principal told us that the readmission criteria are decided by the warden and hostel committee. Since we could get her to accept what was in her hands, we stopped protesting in front of the Principal’s office. The warden also has assured us that the hostel committee will try to relax the criteria especially for PWD students.”

DU Beat reached out to the Union members and residents on hunger strike for their statement, but is yet to receive an official response from their end. This report will be updated as and when the parties comment.

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat Archives

Aishwaryaa Kunwar

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The protest against building the 39-storey residential tower near Chattra Marg at Delhi University North Campus has continued into its 12th day. The protest which is in its second week has seen many developments in the past weeks with worsening health of the protest’s coordinator, Raja Chaudhary, being the latest.

Raja Chaudhary, a law student at the varsity, who is the coordinator of the ‘DU against 39 storey Private Building Committee’ and was on a hunger strike since 10th November had to call off the protest citing health reasons on Friday. It was stated that his health had worsened and upon check-up, it was found out that he was in this condition due to jaundice and eye infection. Thus, it is said that his doctors had advised him to stop the hunger strike.

The protest being staged is against the construction of a 39-storey building near Chattra Marg and Vishwavidyalaya Metro Station. The protesters argue that the land was given to Young Builders Pvt. Ltd. by DMRC without seeking consultation from the Delhi University. Apart from this, the protesters say that the building will overlook six different women hostels which would deteriorate the privacy of these hostels and thus make the prestigious North Campus area unsafe for female students. The protest itself is being supported by DUSU, DTU, DUCU, etc

Commenting on this, ABVP State Media In-charge Ashutosh Singh, “We have for a long time stood by the fact that the building construction was illegal and thus now we will try to approach the state authorities on the issue. We also have been advocating that the land should be given to Delhi University to build additional hostels”. Shweta from Hansraj College says, “The building will come up near the college and would also bring in all types of people. Thus this kind of a project would deteriorate the student-friendly atmosphere of North Campus and also giving public land to a private company is illegal itself”. Another student Ayush Kaul from Delhi College of Arts and Commerce adds, “Such a tall 39 storey building would majorly impact the student and teenager friendly atmosphere of North Campus. In addition to this, it’d also result in more cars and people in the area which will result in more congestion, pollution as well as women safety issues around the area. Also, a new building will dampen the rich heritage of bold and beautiful north campus architecture”

Image Credits: India TV
Aniket Singh Chauhan

The students from the School of Open Learning (SOL) ended their hunger strike on Thursday after a meeting was proposed by the SOL authorities.

The students and activists of the Krantikari Yuva Sanagathan (KYS) undertook a hunger strike to oppose the implementation of Choice Based Credit System (CBCS), which was to be introduced in SOL in the current academic session. The strike, which commenced on Tuesday, ended as a meeting was proposed by the authorities to resolve these issues.

As reported earlier, the decision to introduce semester system was taken during an emergency meeting of the University’s Executive Council (EC) on Saturday, 17th August 2019, but four members recorded their dissent to the idea.

Akansha, a B.Com student from SOL said, “Government ne article 370 hataane se pehle nahi pucha SOL kya cheez hai? (Government did not ask before scrapping article 370, what is SOL compared to that?)

In 2015, DU had decided to drop annual examinations and paved way for the semester examinations for all its regular colleges under CBCS. However, SOL was exempted since there were no regular classes for these students. The students only had a single examination in May as opposed to two exams during the months of November and May. The latest decision would bring SOL at par with regular colleges.

This decision faced a lot of backlash from the students as it was implemented in haste and the material of the annual mode of exam had already been distributed. Until a few days ago, students of were studying the same annual mode syllabus.

As reported by Outlook India, on Thursday, the students attempted to return their academic books but they were refused by the SOL authorities. Subsequently, in protest, they dumped their materials outside the SOL building, which lead to the management of SOL calling a meeting with the delegates.

Feature Image Credits: Niharika Dabral for DU Beat

Stephen Mathew

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The Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) held an Executive Meeting on Saturday, 12th January 2019.

The resolution for the same is a comprehensive account of the crisis being confronted by the teachers of the University in lieu of the Central Government’s withdrawal of government funding from public-funded universities. This was termed as a “highly misguided policy” and “commercialisation of higher education”. This has led to a delay in the announcement of revised allowances and pensions of teachers. The exploitative conditions in terms of long working hours and lack of job security and employment benefits for ad hoc teachers have also contributed to the rage and unrest among teachers.

In addition, DUTA has also directed rage and disappointment against the Vice Chancellor (VC) of the University of Delhi, and condemned him for his inaction and lethargy in carrying out timely appointment procedures for teachers. They expressed strong criticism towards the VC for capitulating to the Government’s agenda by not even allowing the tabling of the report of the sub-committee set up to facilitate the adoption of the UGC Regulations 2018. Owing to the same, several young ad hoc teachers had declared a hunger strike in effect from 4th January 2019, which has now continued for nine days in the blistering cold.

In the resolution dated 12th January 2018, the DUTA has declared solidarity with the teachers on hunger strike, and has demanded that the Government bring in a one-time Regulation for the absorption of temporary and ad hoc teachers. They have proposed a one day strike and dharna at Gate No.1, DU to highlight their demands for the re-convening of the adjourned meeting of the Academic Council. They have also announced an immediate action programme of One Day Strike along with a Long March to MHRD on 17th January 2019.

Emphasising that these consequences emanating from a reduction in Government funding will soon affect the students as well, and has called for support by all sections of the university community, including and especially students.

Feature Image Credits: The Indian Express

Nikita Bhatia

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A hunger strike took place on 1st August 2018 in the Arts Faculty of Delhi University. The protest was against the modifications in the M.Phil and PhD admission procedure, demands against the enforcement of the University Grants Commission’s Ordinance VI by DU has been put forth.

On 1st August 2018, a 12-hour long hunger strike was held at the Faculty of Arts, New Delhi. The strike emerged as a result of the implementation of the 2016 Union Grants Commission (UGC) Gazette notification regarding M.Phil/PhD admissions.
Those who contributed to the protest are against the minimum qualification criterion which requires all the students to have secured 50% marks or more in the entrance test.

The participants of the protest released a public statement before 1st August, where it was revealed that the University of Delhi (DU), as a central university, is not bound to follow the notification. There is a separate selection process, under which the various departments released an Initial Interview List after the results of the entrance test were declared.

This list, however, went on a backburner when an arbitrary notification was released overnight, stating:
“According to the amendments to ordinance VI, VI-A and VI-B regarding MPHIL and PHD, the qualifying marks in the entrance examination for all the candidates (RESERVED and UNRESERVED) is 50%.”

Student movements, thus, stemmed from a collective feeling that the aforementioned notification led to an unjustified hike in the cut-off that brought out a Revised Interview List.
Ordinance VI had been announced in theory in the month of May, and yet there was a lack of information about its implementation in the subsequent forms that were released.

A PhD aspirant, under the condition of anonymity, revealed that some of the Heads of Departments (HOD) were asked to clarify the implications of the ordinance while the students were filling their forms. The HODs assured the students at that time about the maintenance of the previous year’s procedure. When confronted about the happenings, the Heads confessed that there had been no debate, discussion, or revelation regarding the arbitrary enforcement.
The students remain appalled at this lack of transparency.

As per the DU website, the new list had 11 courses where no aspirant could qualify for the interview round. This raised a poignant question for the condition of Higher Education in India, where the new methodology blatantly ignored the gradations and flexibilities based on reservation policies across categories, and put every individual under a single umbrella of 50% marks.

Furthermore, the protestors are of the view that the new DU notification did not take into consideration the papers negative marking, which was absent in 2016.
When the uproar gained momentum, the concerned authorities responded by postponing and cancelling the interviews for PhD and MPhil courses, respectively. The Indian Express reported that the said decision was a consequence of the orders given by the Union Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD), and a meeting was conducted for senior officials. Yet the meeting failed to provide a thorough guideline concerning the next steps.

In the hunger strike, 15 students voiced their disagreement with the way DU was treating the higher educational system in India, and many protestors shared the fear that their futures were being jeopardised for no reason at all.

Those who protested through the hunger strike for more stringent modifications have put forth a list of demands, which are as follows:
1. Complete scrapping of Ordinance VI which states the qualifying marks in the entrance
examination for all the candidates (reserved and unreserved) is 50%.
2. Reinstatement of previous interview lists for all candidates from all categories.
3. Weightage given to written exam to be 80% and for the interview to be 20%.

Aakriti, a PhD aspirant, also participated in the strike and told DU Beat that their group was addressed by the Dean of Students’ Welfare, and a few teachers, but all of them only discouraged their protests, requesting them to wait for further notifications.
According to the collaborative account of the protesting students, the Vice-Chancellor has refused to acknowledge the letters and mails addressed to him, asking for justice in the matter.

Another student, wishing to remain anonymous, said over a telephonic discussion “They redirect us to different places. Sometimes, they ridicule us, they laugh at us, and sometimes they try to reassure us by telling us to contact UGC, MHRD, and others. They have no answers. This shows that there is no transparency in the entire process.”
As of now, the matter has reached the Delhi High Court, and the protesters are hopeful of the decisions that may change after the hearing on 28th August, 2018.


Feature Image Credits: DU Beat.

Anushree Joshi
[email protected]

Deshbandhu College students took place in a hunger strike, demanding better facilities and more resources. 

A group of protesters, led by the Central Councillor of Deshbandhu College, staged a strike from the 19th of May 2018 within the college premises. The strike, which took place intermittently from the 19th, witnessed the Central Councillor of the college Students’ Union Saurabh Kumar holding a hunger strike for 2 days, only ending it at 1 pm on the 22nd.

The protesters put forth a chain of demands which included construction of a new computer science lab in the college, the appointment of a nurse, the release of funds for the cultural societies, and equipping the college chemistry lab with student safety gears including eyeglasses and gloves.

Explaining the reasons underlying his demands, Kumar told DU Beat, “Last October, in the college Chemistry Lab, a student had to be rushed to the hospital after a chemical reaction had gone wrong. Acid fumes had gone into the student’s eyes due to the lack of glasses in the lab.” Speaking on the demand for the release of funds for the societies, he commented, “It is common knowledge that the college has adequate resources to provide the required funds to our societies. But there has been withheld despite repeated requests from our side.”

Kumar, who was taken to the hospital after the strike had elaborated on their demand for a nurse by saying, “We have a medical room and yet we neither have a doctor nor a nurse. Toh Kya Faida Medical Room Ka? (What is the use of a medical room then?)”.


The President of Deshbandhu College Union Devesh Tiwary told a DU Beat correspondent, “First of all, our college doesn’t have a Principal at the moment. In the absence of an overarching authority, the financial transactions find difficulties in implementation. The interviews for the Principal’s post have been carried out. We are awaiting the results now.” He further assured, “Once the exams are over, we will conduct a meeting with the newly appointed Principal, and subsequently take stock of the demands.”

Tiwary alleged that the protesters had not given prior intimation of either their demands or the protest. Pehle Apni Maange Toh Rakho Humare Aage (at least apprise us about your demands first)”. He expressed concern and said, “I received calls from the police. But this wasn’t a matter to actuate a hunger strike upon.”

In contrast to Tiwary’s remarks, student councillor Saurabh Kumar asserted, “We had given prior notification to the college administration about the protest.” Notably, a copy of this aforementioned notification was sent to DU Beat in the evening of the 22nd. In the letter dated 18th May 2018, Kumar had put forth an ultimatum to the college administration by stating that he would sit on the hunger strike till his “last breath”. Kumar had further stated in the letter that if something happens to him during the hunger strike, the culpability of the same will lie with the college. Copies of the same were sent to the police station in Kalkaji, the Chairman of Deshbandhu College and the Vice Chancellor of the University of Delhi.

Saurabh Kumar imposed serious charges against the administration and said, “The protesters sat on strike day-and-night for two days. And yet, the administration had locked the washrooms at night. They not only prevented us from bringing in mattresses, they didn’t allow us to bring even mosquito repellents during the course of our strike.”

In a letter of assurance that was received by Kumar from the college administration, the latter had promised the commencement of construction for the computer science lab within 10 days and appointment of a nurse by the month of July. As for their other two demands,  a member of the college administration told the DU Beat correspondent on conditions of anonymity, “The issue of the provision of safety gears in the Chemistry Lab will be discussed in the department and the college will hold a meeting with the Convener of the Cultural Committee on 23rd of May.”

Feature Image Credits – Saurabh Kumar

Vaibhavi Sharma Pathak

 [email protected]


With unwavering purposefulness, NSUI started an indefinite hunger strike from the afternoon of January 23, 2018 at the Arts Faculty.
Members of NSUI braved the rains and flagged slogans such as, “Chatron ke samman mein, NSUI maidan mein” (NSUI has come out to work for the students), “Hum apna adhikar mangte, nahi kisise bheek mangte” (we ask for out rights, but refuse to beg), and “University humare-aapki, nahi kisike baap ki” (this university is ours, not any familial property).

In the hunger strike wherein senior members of the NSUI like Akshay Lakra and Anushesh Sharma were present, the gathering demanded the setup of a central library which would be open 24 hours of the day, u-special buses in campus for DU students, fee reduction of the Delhi School of Journalism, and special metro concessional passes for DU students.

It is noteworthy that until 2013, a number of University buses were plying to cater to DU students. But now, there is not a single u-special bus. As such, students of far-flung colleges such as Shyamlal College and Vivekananda College have been forced to use private cabs which dig a hole into their pockets. This also affects the safety of girls studying in colleges like Aditi Mahavidyalaya as they are forced to risk their lives and travel alone.

On being asked about their third demand by DU Beat, NSUI Delhi President Akshay Lakra reasoned, “Delhi Metro fare has almost doubled in the past 1.5 years. In October last year, I along with two NSUI activists Shauryaveer Singh and Arjun Chaprana were compelled to jump into the metro tracks in a protest to attract the attention of the government. But till date, nothing has progressed on that front.”
Speaking further on their fourth demand, Akshay Lakra asserted that the high fees for the Delhi School of Journalism symbolises defacto privatisation and hence needs to be reduced.
On being asked whether there has been any response from the authorities’ side, NSUI National Secretary Anushesh Sharma said, “We have tried to contact the VC and the Dean of DU, but they have ignored our demands. When we put forth our demand of a 24/7 centralized library, they ignored the same on the premise of security and budget excuses. Hence we will continue to strive for the students until our demands are fulfilled.”

Feature Image Credits: Vaibhavi Sharma Pathak for DU Beat

Vaibhavi Sharma Pathak
[email protected]

The members of  the Right to Accommodation group were on an indefinite strike for 44 days outside Gate No. 1 of the Arts Faculty building in North Campus protesting against the lack of rent regulation and hostel accommodation for the students staying in and around Delhi University before ending the strike and beginning an indefinite hunger strike from 2nd October to try and change the unhelpful attitude of the concerned  authorities. Members of the hunger strike include Praveen Singh (Convener of the Right to Accommodation group), Ajay Singh from Ramjas College, Sangam Kumar from CLC Faculty of Law and Balraj Yadav from Hindu College.

Why rent regulation?

Around 2,00,000 lakh students arrive at Delhi University every year and the university has a mere 6000 hostel seats to accommodate them. Students who do not get into a hostel have to live on rent which is fixed at around Rs. 8000 for rooms with attached bathrooms near the campus grounds with good facilities. For girls the same goes up to Rs. 15000 a month. Moreover they have strict restrictions. Girls cannot go out or stay out late even if they have work  and the maximum time limit is 7 or 8 pm. Rent increases every year but the facilities remain the same. ” I am currently staying in a UG hostel. After our exams get over in May they make us vacate our rooms for June and July. There are students who have extra classes and coaching during the holidays. Where are they supposed to go? We cannot keep changing every year ” said one of the female participants in the hartal. The North East students are said to suffer the more in this case. A room rented out at Rs. 4000 to a North Indian will be given at Rs. 7000 to a student from the North East.  

Some of  the students travel a long distance everyday because the cost of staying within campus is too high. “I stay with my Nani and my aunt and uncle. They have only two rooms. So I try to study as much as possible in the college because it is not possible to do so at home,” said Sonia, a student from Hans Raj College.

ABVP’s take on the matter

ABVP had rent regulation and hostel accommodation on their list of agendas when they were contesting elections for the 2015-16 session. “After winning the elections we did not have a lot of time on our hands. We are currently engaged in three national level debates and all our programs have already been scheduled. However, after our engagements are over we plan to raise the questions again. Any association that would like to join us is welcome to do so,” says Satender Awana, current President of Delhi University Students’ Union when approached.

Right to Accommodation hunger strike
Photos shared by Arundhati Roy
Right to Accommodation hunger strike
Photos shared by Arundhati Roy


Praveen Singh has been working on this issue for three years. Although delegations have been sent to ministers like Arvind Kejriwal, Smriti Irani and Manish Sisodia, nobody has raised any concerns on the issue. “We are trying to get the Vice Chancellor’s attention on this because no action is possible without his assent. The issue of rent regulation is not one to be taken lightly and I urge every concerned individual out there to help and support us on the matter, ” the convener told us.


Here are some bytes from the first day of the hunger strike:


Read more on the issue of rent regulation here.

A group of Delhi University students under the banner of Right to Accommodation have been on an indefinite strike outside Arts Faculty, North Campus for 42 days now, protesting against the issue of unregularised rent control for the students of the university.

DU Beat had reported  the strike last month:

After having received no due recognition from the University authority or the Delhi Government, the students have now decided to go on a hunger strike from 2nd October. The issues they hope to highlight and some of their demands are-

1. Implementation of Delhi Rent Control Act.

2. To provide accommodation to Delhi University students. To be provided with compensation in the form of scholarship, till they find a hostel/ PG.

3. Availability of a library 24*7

4. A no profit- no loss canteen or mess in Delhi University colleges, departments and faculties.

The press release announcing the hunger strike with effect from Gandhi Jayanti has been signed by Praveen Singh, convener of Right to Accommodation, Ajay Singh from Ramjas College, Bhupendra Yadav, Ambedkar College and Jitendra from Law Faculty.

The issue of rent regulation is not new to DU. It has been a key, and perhaps, a winning agenda for the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) elections for the past two years. But seeing no actual progress on the matter, the group has decided to take matters into their own hands. Interestingly, Right to Accommodation had held a 7- day hunger strike last year too. Read about it here.  

Related reading: What is rent regulation and why it’s a big deal

After making umpteen appeals to the VC, the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) has decided to up the ante. The association has been sitting on an indefinite relay hunger strike from 10th of October against the way decisions were being made in the varsity.

Twenty-three teachers from Ramjas College, Daulat Ram College, Delhi College of Arts and Commerce and Deen Dyal Upadhyay College and eminent DUTA executive members – DUTA secretary S. D. Siddiqui, former DUTA president Aditya Narayan Misra and Academic Council members A.K. Bhagi and M.R. Chikkara were the prime participants on first day of the strike.

“Teachers are increasingly being thrown out of decision making and the VC has shown utter disregard to the teachers’ democratic body,” said DUTA Executive member Abha Dev Habib.

DUTA is against Vice Chancellor for his contemptuous ignore of the teacher’s association and destroying the entire academic fabric by announcing new courses and academic programmes through media and running the University as his personal fiefdom.

“VC has browbeaten the entire university fraternity to accept his fanciful decisions. The drastic changes in examination and evaluation of answer-scripts, yet again announced to the media without any discussion in the Academic Council, may justifiably seem insane to the public at large but they also serve to aptly illustrate his egoism and the utterly deluded and directionless nature of his reforms,’ said one of the DUTA members.

In spite of the strike classes were not called off and teacher’s taught by taking leave for some time to take their classes.  Last time VC ordered principals of colleges to deduct salaries of those teachers who participated in the strike on 28 August.

DUTA is also planning a candle-light vigil on Friday night to further their cause. The candle-light vigil is for the 4,000 teachers who have been condemned to continue teaching in ad-hoc capacity despite being eligible.

Sakshi Gupta
[email protected]

Image source: The Hindu