The Pondicherry University (PU) administration will hold discussions with the protesting students council members regarding their demands, this afternoon. The meeting will happen in light of the ‘Occupy Admin’ protest which members of the Pondicherry University Students’ Council (PUSC) began on February 6. Their demands include fee reduction, abolition of transportation fee and 25% reservation for the native students of Puducherry.
The students of Pondicherry University from the Karaikal campus are also protesting about demands on their charter. The PUSC has vowed to continue the protest indefinitely if their demands are not heeded to.
ADMINISTRATION LETHARGIC ON ADDRESSING DEMANDS
Members of the PUSC have been protesting for the past eight days and continue to occupy the Admin block. Parichay Yadav, the President of the PUSC told NewsClick that students will not end the protest until their demands are met. “The administration is playing hide-and-seek since a committee was formed at the beginning of the academic year. The attitude of the administration in convening the committee was highly lethargic. We expect the newly set-up committee to be more concerned in addressing and resolving the issues faced by the students,” he added.
The university administration has formed a committee to look into the demands of the students who have resorted to the ‘sudden strike’. However, members of the council accuse the administration of not listening to students’ demands for the past several months resulting in the sit-in protest. The PUSC claims that the University administration has acknowledged struggle of students by forming a new committee to discuss the demands.
PROViDE AFFORDABLE AND QUALITY PUBLIC EDUCATION
“The fee hike is as high as 225% in certain courses and the introduction of the transportation fee for day-scholars is unacceptable. The council also wishes to reiterate the demand of 25% reservation for students from Puducherry in the admission process,” said Yadav. He further mentioned that a hike in tuition fees and transportation fees will adversely affect students from a socially and economically weak background leading to a greater financial burden on them. “In the backdrop of the government reducing funding for public education, our fight is for an affordable and quality education for all’, added Yadav.
Students from the Karaikal campus have joined the protest as they are deprived of basic amenities on campus, including security measures. “The demands of our colleagues in the Karaikal campus will also be presented in the meeting being scheduled today. We will continue our fight till the demands are met and ensure the rights of the students are restored”, said Yadav.
Students Federation of India (SFI) members of the Indira Gandhi College of Arts and Science in Karthirkamam boycotted classes and took out a rally to the Collectorate in support of striking students of PU. SFI leaders submitted a memorandum to the Collector with demands of the PUSU.
PEOPLES REPRESENTATIVES AND STUDENTS’ COUNCILS EXTEND SUPPORT
T. K. Rangarajan, Member of Parliament (M.P.) from the Rajya Sabha and Dr. Ravi Kumar, M.P. from Vizhuppuram in the Lok Sabha, have written to the Vice Chancellor to withhold the fee hike and speak to the striking students. Meanwhile, messages of solidarity poured in from students’ councils across the country. The students’ councils of Visva-Bharati University, Tata Institute of Social Studies (TISS), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), University of Hyderabad and the Presidency University from Kolkata have extended their support to the struggle.
The Vice Chancellor of the University has avoided his office since February 7 to avoid the ire of students.