The students of Pondicherry University (PU) who were on a hunger strike were admitted to a private hospital after the administration denied them treatment at the university health centre. A student on hunger strike fainted on her way to the washroom on Wednesday and reportedly needed immediate medical attention, but violating all basic human rights, the arrogant administration denied her any help.
However, undeterred by the undemocratic and suppressive moves of the university administration, another set of students have taken over the mantle of continuing the indefinite hunger strike. The PU Students’ Council (PUSC), thus, continued their sit-in protest for the 29th day, demanding rollback of fee hike, ensuring reservation for Puducherry students and free transportation.
Meanwhile, the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) and many other students’ and youth organisations held a protest demanding immediate action on the demands put forth by the PUSC. They insisted that the state government intervene in this issue without delay.
Five students of the PU started a hunger strike from the midnight of February 29 after the administration refused to consider the demands of the students.
The registrar of the university had reportedly given instruction not to provide any sort of medical attention or check the striking students. The PUSC condemned the move and insisted on discussing the concerns raised by the students.
Parichay Yadav, president of PUSC, told NewsClick, “The students on hunger strike were denied basic medical check-up by the health centre on instructions from the registrar (in-charge). The students were admitted to a private hospital nearby for treatment. Such an attitude of the university administration is unacceptable. In protest, the PUSC has invited all the artists in the university to gather tonight to showcase their form of protest. We demand that the university administration hold talks responsibly and consider the genuine demands of the student community instead of intimidating and threatening the students.”
The SFI Puducherry region unit held a protest in solidarity with the PU students. They took out a rally and conducted a road roko. The protesters were detained by the police.
Earlier last week, the campus had turned into a “detention camp” during the visit of the vice president for the graduation ceremony. The students were dragged from the administrative block and locked inside a hall on the campus. The detention continued for more than 20 hours during which the students were left to starve by the administration and the police. The Congress government ruling the union territory of Puducherry has surprisingly not uttered a word in support of the protesting students.
With the ‘Occupy Admin’ protest approaching completion of a month, the political parties along with several youth and students’ organisations have started a mass contact programme to create awareness among the people on the importance of saving the public education system. Ever since the struggle started, the PUSC has categorically stated that this protest is not just confined to their demands, but is a larger cause ensuring affordable and quality education to all the socially and economically backward students. The PUSC has also released comparative charts of fees of the PU and other central universities.