Amid protests over exorbitant hostel fee and safety of girl students, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad on late Monday evening revoked the suspension of academic activities and declared that the campus will be opened again from Thursday. The decision to resume academic activities comes in the backdrop of scathing criticism from social activists, such as Aruna Roy and Binayak Sen. The students at the Hyderabad campus went on strike after the private service provider hiked the upfront fee to Rs 54,000 per semester, three-fold higher than the previous year.
In a notice, Acting Registrar M P Balamurugan said the suspension of academic activities was followed by "a large number of representations from present students, alumni, parents and other well-wishers, appealing for resuming of activities in its Hyderabad Off-Campus at the earliest."
The notice added: "In response to these representations and given the Institute's commitment to smooth conduct of academic activities and based on current assessment of the situation in the Hyderabad Off-Campus with the hope that no obstructions would be caused, the institute has decided to re-open and resume academic activities in its Hyderabad campus from July 25, 2019. It is sincerely appealed to all students to ensure the smooth functioning and conduct of classes and all other academic activities on campus."
TISS, which had opened its Hyderabad campus, has been operating from the Telangana State Institute of Panchayat Raj and Rural Development (TSIPARD) Campus in Rajendranagar. However, the college and hostel were shifted to the KB School campus in Turkayamjal in the city. The hostel facilities to the institute are being provided by private service providers, which has led to the increased fees leaving the enrolled students in doldrums.
However, the protesting students argue that resumption of academic activities have come without addressing their pending issues. Parvathy, a student of the institute told Newsclick that the protest would continue as the administration remained silent on their demands. "The students will be continuing protest and planning to fight the exorbitant hike legally. We have removed the blockade from the campus and mulling other ways to exert pressure regarding our demands," she said.
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She added that several students from the marginalised groups could not cope with the pressure and had dropped out. " We saw one student hailing from Maharashtra enrolled in MA Rural Development and Governance dropping out and another student is on the verge of leaving the institution. This is certainly not a very good situation for academics."
Although she appeared content with the fact that the struggle had partially succeeded after the administration released an initial amount of Rs 15,000 for students from the marginalised backgrounds.
Newsclick had earlier reported that the students had that the crisis was rooted in alleged favouritism meted out to the private service provider by the officials of the institute.
Speaking with Newsclick, the protesting students had expressed their skepticism regarding the decision to shift the campus to a private school building which is way out of the city, from a government building belonging to the Telangana State Institute of Rural Development (TSIRD) which is within the city and is well linked to other institutes dealing in social sciences and rural development spheres.