BHU: Nursing Students’ Protest Continues, Will Resort to Hunger Strike If Demands Aren’t Met
The nursing students at the Institute of Medical Sciences of the Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi have been protesting for the past five days for their demands pertaining to hostels, internships, and stipends, among other things. The administration has not paid heed to them even after the health of one of the protesting students deteriorated on Wednesday.
The students have claimed that regardless of the several assurances, the administration has failed in fulfilling their demand for hostel accommodation; it has also not been able to hold examinations on time. The students have also been asking for a stipend of Rs 13,000 per month during their six-month internship in accordance with the rules. Their other demands include an M Sc Nursing course at the university and a 25% reservation in admissions.
Notice to Protesting Students
Speaking to NewsClick, students said that the professor in charge of the nursing college has served a notice to the protesters. They alleged that the administration is trying to pressurise them with the notice into ending their agitations. The protesters, however, have refused to step back and have warned the administration that the students will opt for a hunger strike if their demands are not fulfilled.
The nursing students said that the students have been protesting time and again since 2020, but to no avail. Last year, the administration had promised to provide hostel accommodation to the nursing students on a priority basis. However, students claim that a year later – despite many rooms lying vacant – they have not been provided hostel facilities. As a result, the students resumed their agitation on February 20.
‘Administration Cites Technical Issues’
Piyush, a third-year nursing student, told NewsClick that the administration has come up with one or the other reason for not making the hostels available. “Many seniors have finished their course and have vacated the hostel rooms. But these rooms are locked and the administration is talking about ‘technical problems’ in allotting the rooms,” he said.
“In addition, it is stipulated that the medical students should get Rs 13,000 as a monthly stipend for the duration of their internship, which is six months. However, the administration gives us neither the pay nor a certificate. How are we supposed to show our experience for our future jobs?” he questioned.
Another student, Rahul, told NewsClick that students work at the hospital while they are studying. “We work till late in the night sometimes. There is no transport available. The rules say that the administration should make a hostel space available within the one-kilometre perimeter of the hospital. But no one here cares,” he said.
Rahul also blamed the administration for not holding exams in a timely manner. “Our syllabus schedule is then disrupted and we end up losing a lot of time,” he complained.
The protesting students said that barring a visit from the in-charge – who asked them to wrap up the agitation – no one from the administration has reached out to the students with any assurance. They also said that they have exhausted the proper channels of communication to raise their issues and have seen no solution despite their meetings with the administration and the vice-chancellor. The students have now resolved to continue their agitation till their demands are met. They have taken their protest to Twitter as well, with campaigns launched under the hashtags #FightForHostel and #FightForStipend. The administration, however, has retained its silence on the matter so far.
NewsClick tried to contact the public relations officer of the BHU but received no response. The story will be updated if and when it receives a response from the university.
It should be noted that the BHU students have raised several issues in the past and launched protests. A few days ago, students of the university had organised a ‘warning march’ to highlight the issues of sexual harassment on the campus. The students had agitated against the quality of food and other mismanagement in the hostels. A lack of effective communication between the administration and the students has left the latter feeling hopeless and frustrated.
Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.