Prayagraj: It has been nearly a month since the students of Allahabad University (AU) in Uttar Pradesh have been protesting over the 400 per cent hike in fees, varsity officials said.
A series of meetings between the students and the district and university administration have proved inconclusive.
Ajay Yadav ‘Samrat’, who is leading the agitation, said, “The hike in fees is completely unacceptable. Students from economically weak backgrounds come here to study and make a future for themselves but the university administration obviously does not care for them. Our agitation will continue till the hike is rolled back.”
In the past few days, agitating students have tried various ways of protest.
They tried to take “bhu-samadhi” (voluntarily burying themselves alive) earlier this week to push their demand.
A group of students have been on a relay hunger strike.
The protestors were, however, stopped by police personnel, who pulled them out of the ditches that were dug by students near the university’s Union Hall.
This led to a scuffle between the police and the student leaders. Fortunately, no student sustained any serious injury during the incident.
In September, one student reportedly committed suicide to register his protest but the varsity administration claimed that the student Ashutosh Tiwari was not a student of the Allahabad University and was staying in the Tarachand hostel illegally.
The university in a statement said that a probe had been ordered into the incident.
On Tuesday, the city administration and university representatives held a meeting with student leaders regarding the ongoing agitation.
The protesting students put forward the demand for a complete rollback of the fees hike and of bringing back the student union by holding the student union elections.
The university clarified its stand on both the issues giving reasons and justification for the fees hike and stating that the matter regarding the student union is sub-judice and so no decision can be taken by the University authorities in the matter.
A major point that was put forward by the university administration was that the Vice-Chancellor Sangita Srivastava has given her complete assurance that no meritorious or poor student would remain deprived of education because of the fee hike.
“AU officials told the protesting students that the fee realised from poor and from the reserved category students is returned 100 per cent to them in form of scholarships and if any student cannot afford to pay the fee, he or she can always represent their case to the AU administration and varsity will take care of the fee,” said City Magistrate, Satyapriya Singh.
“This is a vague and subjective offer. Will the Vice-Chancellor give in writing that poor students will not suffer due to fee hike. Most of us come from economically weaker backgrounds and cannot afford the fees,” said Samrat.
The ongoing students’ agitation has already got support from the Samajwadi Party and the Congress, though the students have avoided any direct involvement of politicians in their agitation.
“We do not wish to politicise the issue but it has been a month and the government has not addressed our issues. We will now think of a fresh strategy but we will not give up,” the student leader added.