#OccupyUGC Campaign Turns Ugly


Policemen removing students who were protesting against the UGC’s decision to scrap the non-NET fellowships in New Delhi on Friday.

Some students were detained and taken to Bhalswa Dairy police station

The face-off between the Central government and the student community on the issue of University Grants Commission’s (UGC) decision to withdraw fellowships of non-NET researchers, turned ugly on Friday morning when some of the protesters were detained and taken to the outskirts of Delhi.

After the UGC decided to stop giving fellowships to non-NET researchers, the students went on a protest, which later turned into an “Occupy UGC” campaign from Wednesday evening.

As part of this demonstration, students sat inside the UGC premises before they were detained and taken to Bhalswa Dairy police station in the outskirts of Delhi on Friday morning.

Those who were protesting outside the UGC office also had a minor clash with the police when they tried to break barricades and enter the premises.

Students alleged that police used force on them and that some of the students were injured in the clash.

A statement from the Jawaharlal Nehru University Student’s Union (JNUSU) read: “Two buses carrying protesters had left from JNU and they were protesting at UGC, while we are detained here at Delhi border. They have been lathi-charged by the Delhi Police. Several of our activists have been injured and are being taken to the hospital,” a statement from JNUSU read.

A talk between the UGC officials and students has already failed owing to which they have continued their demonstration. “When a delegation met the UGC officials we wanted them to take up the issue of re-considering their decision on an immediate basis but the officials said that they will review it in a meeting scheduled after one-and-a-half months, which means that they are not taking the issue seriously. We also wanted to meet the UGC chairperson Ved Prakash who is also the chairperson of the committee reviewing the fellowships but the officials did not even let that happen,” said Shehla Rashid, vice-president JNUSU. Shehla was also part of the delegation that met the officials on Wednesday.

Vijeta, a protester, who is pursuing MPhil from Ambedkar University, said: “I am a student of development practice. So far, students like us were able to continue our research because of the fellowships provided to us, but if it is stopped in the near future, students will not be able to continue research work.”

Another protester, Chandrik, a student of JNU said: “I am not affected by the decision, but we all want to put up this fight so that those who start their research in the future do not get affected.”

Volunteers from Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) also staged a protest at ITO. The protesters clashed with security personnel and broke the classes of a bus. Traffic in ITO area was also blocked for about two hours in the afternoon because of the protest and the subsequent enhanced police force. “Increasing the fellowship amount was one of the promises that ABVP made in its manifesto and we are fighting for it,” ABVP Delhi Secretary Saket Bahuguna said.

Teachers from across various central universities also supported the cause.

“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 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,” a statement signed by teachers from various national and international institutions read.

Those supporting the cause included teachers from JNU, Aligarh Muslim University, University of Southampton, UK, Delhi University, National University of Singapore, Jamia Millia Islamia and King’s College, London.

News Courtesy: The Hindu

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