The spate of student protests in the past few months that have been raging in the country’s top higher education institutes, including JNU, IIMC, IIT among others, is not ending any time soon. University students, cutting across their political affiliations, came together on Tuesday, December 10, and resolved to continue their fight against the “purposive” policies of the Modi–led BJP government aimed at “destabilising public education.”
Left wing students organisations, Students’ Federation of India and All India Students’ Association have joined hands with Congress’s National Students Union of India and formed a joint platform to intensify the struggle for “decent and affordable education”. As such, the joint body of students’ unions have called for a nationwide students’ strike on January 8. The students’ bodies will also be joined by various independent organisations.
According to the unions, campuses across the country in the recent past have witnessed an uproar among the students against “exclusionary” policies, from fee hikes to assaults on social justice. With student movements emerging throughout the country, the immediate need is to organise the anger and anxiety that plagues the student community.
Also read: JNU: Students to Observe National Protest Day Across Country
Addressing the media on Tuesday, Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) President Aishe Ghosh called out the university students across the nation to come out on the streets and register their protest against the “anti-student” policies of the government. “Students belonging to the minorities and socially marginalised groups will be the first to be deprived of their right to education through the onslaught of privatisation unleashed by the Modi government,” she said.
Under the current ruling regime led by Bharatiya Janata Party, fellowships and scholarships for research have decreased, cases of identity-based discrimination in campuses have increased and freedom of expression is curbed in every possible way, she added.
The newly formed joint forum also called out the implementation of National Education Policy (NEP), which is “subverting” the federal character of the education system.
Reiterating that “public education must be for all”, N Sai Balaji, national president of AISA, criticised the outcry over the taxpayers’ money being ‘wasted’ for providing affordable education to students. “The Modi government has crores to first conduct, and now repeat the anti-constitutional process of NRC, but when it comes to providing education, funds are cut,” he said. There’s money to spread hate, but no money to educate people, he added.
The strike called out by the university students on January 8 will coincide with the general strike of workers called for by 10 central trade unions and a Grameen Bandh called for by hundreds of farmers’ organisation, all protesting against the slew of anti-people and anti-worker policies adopted by the Modi government.
Also read: Dream of Higher Education Moves Farther with Fee Hikes