A massive protest broke out in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Monday over fees hike during the Varsity’s convocation ceremony, leading to clashes with the police.

On 11th November 2019, thousands of students from JNU clashed with the Delhi police after the protests over drastic fee hike escalated. The students were demanding the withdrawal of the draft hostel manual, which they claimed has provisions for fee hike, dress code, and curfew timings. They were planning to protest outside the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) premises where the varsity’s third convocation that was being addressed by Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu was held. While Naidu left the venue after attending the convocation, the Minister of Human Resource Development (HRD), Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ was stuck due to the protest for over six hours.

The students were demanding the withdrawal of the draft hostel manual, in which service charges of INR 1,700 were introduced and the one-time mess security fee, which is refundable, has been hiked from INR 5,500 to INR 12,000. The rent for a single-seater room has been increased from INR 20 per month to 600 per month, while rent for a double-seater room has been increased to INR 300 per month from INR 1,000 per month. The draft hostel manual also has provisions for dress code and curfew timings, the Students’ Union alleged, even as the administration denied these two claims.

Over 600 police personnel were deployed to handle the protest organised by the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU). Several blockades put up by the police were also broken by the protesting students, who started their march towards the AICTE around 11.30 a.m. Barricades were placed around the JNU Campus, as well as on the route between the AICTE auditorium and the University at Baba Balaknath Marg and nearby areas. As the protest escalated, students clashed with the Delhi police, leading to skirmishes. Water cannons were used to disperse the protestors and police claimed that students were detained. This intensified the protest, with the students shouting against the Delhi Police, as well as the Vice-Chancellor (VC).

As reported by the Times of India, the JNUSU office-bearers later met the HRD Minister who assured them that their demands would be looked into. But the VC still hasn’t met with the union. “The VC is destroying the varsity. We have made several attempts to meet him on campus, but there has been no fruitful result,” Aishe Ghosh, president of JNUSU.

The students claim that the decision to hike fees by 300 percent is exclusive of students from marginalised communities. The protest is also against other actions of the varsity, like restrictions by the administration on entry to the Parthasarathy Rocks – a hillock inside the campus, or attempts to lock Students’ Union office.

DU Beat spoke with a foreign student from JNU agitated against the administration who threw light on the condition of foreign students. The student revealed that the Science students of the Foreign Nationality category pay up to 1500$ which counts nearly INR 1 lakh per semester. The Arts students of the Foreign Nationality pay up to 1200$ per semester, which equates around INR 87,000. “Just because we are “foreign” category doesn’t mean everyone comes from well to-do families. Around 40 Tibetan students’ who passed the entrance exam, could not afford the fees. They couldn’t join. JNU has a good population of SAARC country students. The fee is particularly neck breaking for South Asian students who come from third world countries,” they said.

Image Caption: Posters elaborating on the fee hike crises were circulated among students' via whatsapp and social media. Image Credits: Unknown
Image Caption: Posters elaborating on the fee hike crises were circulated among students’ via whatsapp and social media.
Image Credits: Unknown
Image Caption: Posters elaborating on the fee hike crises were circulated among students' via whatsapp and social media. Image Credits: Unknown
Image Caption: Posters elaborating on the fee hike crises were circulated among students’ via whatsapp and social media.
Image Credits: Unknown

In these circumstance students’ raise pertinent questions like-“How is this affordable? And how does this hold to any foundational values of JNU?” while the responses remain bleak.

Around 15 to 20 students who were graduating were sitting inside the auditorium main gate in solidarity with the protestors. The JNUSU has said the strike would not end until the hostel manual is withdrawn.

Feature Image Credits: India Today

Shreya Juyal

[email protected]

A look at the controversy and the arguments surrounding the decision to field an all male panel during Day 1 of Kirori Mal College’s Women Conclave, organised by National Service Scheme unit’s Women Empowerment Cell, Sahas.

The annual Kirori Mal Women Conclave was held on the 23rd and 24th September in the college campus. However, when the speakers for the panel discussion to be conducted on Day 1 was revealed, it turned out that an event which claimed to celebrate ‘Women and womenhood’ did not have a single female panelist, with the only one keynote speaker being female, Ms. Ira Singhal. The speakers announced for the panel discussion on Day 1 were Mr. Kanishk Priyadarshi and Mr. Pavitra Paruthi from Scoopwhoop, and Mr. Ankush Bahugana from MensXP. This decision was heavily criticized profusely on social media, as many came forward with the irony in representation in an event organized by the Women’s Develpoment Cell, and on the topic “Women and womenhood”

The repercussions of this event were felt on Day 1 itself, when Mr. Bahugana backed out from the event, citing that the panel discussion should have had female representation. Alongside this, the event was also met with protestors holding up banners during the panel session protesting against the lack of female representation. On speaking to one of the protestors, Adrija, a first-year student, she said, “In every panel, every field around the world, men are the dominant people who are part of these discussions, so I feel that in places like women conclaves which is on women’s issues, women are severely needed, So kya point hai discussion ka (What’s the point of a discussion).” She also stated that the discussion got derailed because the panel didn’t talk about major issues. She mentioned that there was no representation of transwomen or the queer community in this year’s event.

On 23rd September, the instagram handle of Sahas uploaded a post reaffirming their ideas, and justifying their decisions.

View this post on Instagram

We have witnessed a certain backlash regarding our all male panel for the day 1 of the Women Conclave 2019. Yes, it is true that the panel consists of all men but we took this subsequently intentional and bold step to convey and put forward certain views. Firstly, we believe that it is not only women who have the responsibility to empower other women. Voices of women are heard. But is not only the duty of other women to echo those voices. Next, Women Conclave is simply about celebrating womenhood and supporting hardworking women. Is women empowerment so sacred that only women have the right to talk about it? We certainly disagree. Furthermore, we did try to contact certain women we thought would make this panel even more admirable than it already is. However, due to certain reasons and their prior commitments, it could not happen. We cannot ignore the fact that for the past 2 Conclaves, we have had only women talking about women’s issues. This year also, majority of the sessions are dominated by strong women. The all male panel is indeed a controversial step but we do not regret it and are rather excited about it because at the end of the day, everyone has something to say. Nevertheless, we do have a female panellist who will be moderating this panel. So we request you all to kindly attend the session. We promise to answer all your questions. Yours sincerely, Arshita Chaurasia Head Coordinator

A post shared by SAHAS (@sahas_wec) on

On speaking to Arshita Chaurasia, the head event coordinator for the event and the treasurer of the NSS unit, it was mentioned that women speakers were invited for Day 1, but they weren’t available.  She stated that the idea of all male panel was taken to the Convenor and the Principal and they felt there was no such issue, as men should speak on these issues and be educated as well on women empowerment. Dr. Benu Gupta, the program officer for NSS said “What we are looking for is of course women empowerment and capacity building of women. But ultimately society is made equally by men and women so if we only keep on empowering women and not sensitizing the men and we won’t hear men about what they are experiencing, then it doesn’t make any sense. You are biased if you are not taking men on board.” It was also pointed out that six of the ten speakers were women, when taking into consideration both days of the event. To strengthen her argument, Dr. Gupta also pointed out that for something like the keynote session held by Mr. Rakshit Tandon on Day 1, on the topic of cyber security, expertise and knowledge was the determining factor and not gender.

Feature Image Credits: Stuti Srivastava for La Voice KMC

Prabhanu Kumar Das

[email protected]


Saturday, 21st September, saw a series of protests concerning the Jadavpur University unrest in West Bengal. On one hand, All India Students’ Association (AISA), Pinjra Tod, and Students’ Federation of India (SFI) protested against the actions of Babul Supriyo and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) supporters at the Jadavpur University. On the other hand, ABVP protested against left terror and condemned the heckling of Supriyo.

On Saturday, 21st September 2019, two protests broke out in the Faculty of Arts, North Campus of the Delhi University (DU). The first protest was organised by Pinjra Tod, AISA, SFI along with other left supporters, condemning the actions of the ABVP supporters and Babul Supriyo at Jadavpur University. In response, a counter-protest was held by members of the ABVP, calling for an end to “Left Terror” and “Red Terror” across the country, condemning the heckling of Supriyo at Jadavpur University.

The left-leaning parties and Pinjra Tod arrived at the Faculty of Arts first. The protest, planned for 12 p.m, began at 12:15 p.m. because the police force present on the venue impeded it. After reconciliation with the police force, the left began their protest surrounded by barricades with slogans like, “ABVP ki gundagardi, nahi chalegi! (Hooliganism by ABVP would not be accepted!)” and “ladenge tumse kadam kadam pe!  (We will fight against injustice every step of the way!)Outside these barricades, ABVP supporters began their own protest, condemning and to stop leftist and red terrorism, and violence, while chanting, “Desh ke gaddaro ko, goli maaro saalo ko! (We need to kill off the traitors!)

Following this, the Akshit Dahiya and Shivangi Kharwal, the President and Joint Secretary of Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) respectively, addressed the crowd. Thereafter, ABVP proceeded to move closer to the leftist protest and burnt effigies with “Left Terror” and “Red Terror” written on them. When the effigy burning did not faze the leftist parties, the ABVP supporters went closer to barricades and shouted slogans like, “Bharat mata ki Jai! (Long live Mother India!)” and “Left Unity Muradabad! (Go down Left Unity!)” This resulted in the leftist parties and Pinjra Tod to turn to the barricades and chant, “Azadi!”

Sidharth Yadav, Delhi State Secretary of the ABVP, told DU Beat, “The incident is shameful! Does the freedom of expression allow anyone to pull [a] union minister by his hair? Tear a guest’s shirt? Manhandle a woman? Is what left did in Jadhavpur University not mob lynching?  It’s high time we stop our selective outrage and expose such people. The left only believes in violence and this is what they have done in Kerala, bengal, JNU; wherever they are in power. We won’t tolerate this in DU. DU stand with Jadhavpur University and the space of debate and dissent won’t end here.”

While Kawalpreet Kaur, President of AISA, commented, “From JU to DU, wherever there is a strong students’ voice against BJP’s anti-people and anti-student policies, BJP government unleashes an all out attack on campus democracy.” She also added that DU students stood up when ABVP had vandalised a seminar in Ramjas College, and will also stand up against ABVP’s hooliganism across the country.

We contacted members of the SFI and Pinjra Tod for detailed responses, but they were unable to provide a comment on the same.

Feature Image Credits: Gauri Ramchandani for DU Beat

Shreya Juyal

[email protected]