Massive support for #OccupyUGC from teachers and researchers across universities

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The following is the statement issued by teachers and researchers across universities in support of students protesting against UGC’s “proposal to scrap the non-net fellowhsip” and “in condemnation of the police crackdown on agitating students on October 23, 2015.” It has been signed by over 200.

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The statement:

This is to express our solidarity with, and extend our support to, students from universities across Delhi who have occupied the UGC building since the evening of Wednesday, 21st October, 2015, protesting against the UGC’s decision to scrap Non-NET Fellowships for MPhil and PhD research scholars, and demanding an increase in the fellowship denominations instead.

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When the UGC authorities failed to give them a hearing, they decided to occupy the building overnight, and were camping there since then. According to reports, members of the ABVP came in large numbers this morning (Friday, 23rd October, 2015) and attacked the protestors by pelting stones, which has been captured on camera. There was a huge CRPF deployment inside the UGC premises against protesting students from the start. All those present – around 100 students protesting against the UGC’s decision on non-NET fellowships – have been forcefully evicted from the premises and arrested by the police. The students have been ferried all the way across to a police station in Bhalaswa, on the outskirts of the city, by the police, and are currently detained at the Police Station at C block, Rajiv Nagar, Bhalaswa Dairy. Students who are not in detention in Bhalaswa will continue to occupy UGC and also gather at Jantar Mantar at 5 pm on 23rd October 23, 2015 to take the protest beyond the campus and the UGC and call for larger public awareness and support.

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As we know, the Non-NET Fellowship provides stipends of Rs 5000 and Rs 8000 per month respectively to MPhil and PhD research scholars who have not cleared the NET or do not have any other scholarships or fellowships. The NET provides a minority of research students with the JRF, and the scrapping of the Non-NET fellowship will virtually mean the paralyzing of basic research support for a majority of students, and will be disastrous for all students whose families are in no economic position to provide for them while they pursue their research. Research scholars are integral to the university as workers, and stipends are due to them as minimum wages, not as dole to be distributed or scrapped at will. We are aware of the politics of a decision to discontinue this imperative support from the UGC, since it will affect scholars from underprivileged and marginalized communities the most. We also see it as foreshadowing the developments anticipated in the WTO pact that the Indian government proposed to ink in December this year. We strongly condemn such a move from the UGC, and stand in solidarity with all students who are protesting and resisting this attempt to further destroy the life of the university in the country. We offer our support to them in any way they may need.

#OccupyUGC #IncreaseNonNetFellowship #SupportFromTeachers

News Courtesy: Times of India
Image Courtesy: Akhil Kumar/Facebook

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