New Delhi: Student protests in Hyderabad Central University, spearheaded by the Students Federation of India (SFI) against the decision of the university chief warden (CW) to cut down water and electricity supply in five men’s hostel and a women’s hostel, entered the third day on Friday.
Students have alleged that following the chief warden’s decision, those who are staying in MH- A,B,D of North Campus, MH- I, L and LH-8 of South Campus, are being pressured to leave the campus. This at a time when many students are preparing for NET and various other examinations whose centres are in Hyderabad.
Umashankar Veeravalli, an Integrated Masters student, who spent the night in front of MH- L, wrote about his experience in a Facebook post, “No power, no peace. This is the most painful night I have ever experienced on this campus. Sitting like a lifeless piece in front of MH-L. Thank you so much to Chief Warden and Students Union.”
The students’ trauma began on April 26, when the chief warden’s office (CWO) released a notice that during vacations, 14 out of 21 hostels will be closed. After a protest led by SFI, the CW agreed to open some more hostels.
The semester exams before the summer vacation started on April 18 and continue till May 4, and on April 26, when the exams were going on, the CWO issued a notice asking students to submit an application for staying in hostels during vacation. The process of submitting the application is time consuming as students need to get clearance from three sections. Again after a protest, the CW extended the last date for submission of application to May 14.
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When asked, SFI HCU unit committee secretary Abhishek Nandan told NewsClick, “The main agenda set by the CW was to vacate the campus during the non-academic period and create a culture to make sure that students do not apply for staying in the campus during vacations in future.”
Some of the students alleged that they faced harassment by the CW when they went to submit their applications for staying on. On May 15, when the final list of room allocation was published by the CW, around 150 applications were rejected without assigning valid reasons.
On June 10, power supply to hostels were cut, which led to another protest by the student community led by SFI, after which power was restored. Later, there were power cuts in the hostels again.
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According to a statement by the strudents’ union president Aarti Nagpal on June 11, “After a day long meeting and discussion with the CW and Pro Vice Chancellor 1, it has been understood that the decision is taken keeping in view the water scarcity.”
But the issue does not seem to be related to water crisis, as during winter vacations too students were forced to vacate the hostels. Last year, before summer vacations, tenders were given to tankers to fill water if needed. This year, too, some tankers are there to fill water and students have reported overflowing tanks in some hostels.
The student community, especially those taking NET, are under pressure as also those from under-privilged backgrounds.
Mrithyunjay Pandey, a PhD student who is part of SFI, says “there are a lot of students from under-privileged sections. They see this campus as an opportunity to stay and study peacefully as they do not have resources like internet and electricity at home. There are now facing serious pressure.”
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