JNU students protest rocks capital, march stopped by police

NEW DELHI: Thousands of Jawaharlal Nehru University students, carrying placards and chanting slogans, marched towards Parliament on the first day of the Winter Session on Monday, demanding a total rollback of the hostel fee hike, but were stopped by police around half a kilometre from the institute’s campus in south Delhi.

The students, who were holding a protest on the university’s premises for the last three weeks, hit the streets seeking to get the attention of Parliament about their demands, asserting they will not relent until the government withdraws the hike.

Hundreds of police personnel stopped the students on the Baba Ganganath Marg, around 600 metres from the main gate of the university and some of them were forcefully blocked from moving ahead.

Several leaders of the agitation were detained by police when they were insisting on marching forward. Initially, the barricades outside JNU’s gates were removed and the students were allowed to march. The HRD Ministry appointed a three-member committee to recommend ways to restore normal functioning of the JNU which has been witnessing periodic protests by students over a variety of issues.

Akshat, a JNU student said, “The students’ union has not been informed by the ministry about the formation of a panel. The administration’s officials and the panel should speak to the elected union to solve the issue.”

“We are being given a lollipop in terms of the partial rollback. I am the first from my family to reach university. There are many others like me. Education is not the birthright of a privileged few,” Priyanka, another student, said.

Students took out the march carrying banners that read “save public education”, “fees must fall” and “ensure affordable hostels for all”.

Another student, who did not wish to be named, said, “We haven’t seen our VC (vice-chancellor) in a long time. It’s time that he comes out and talks to us. Instead of appealing to us through teachers and other methods, he should initiate a dialogue with us.”

The JNU Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) has expressed its concern over the current situation in the university campus. PTI

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