The students’ protest in Bikaner’s Maharaja Gangasingh University led by SFI finally came to a close yesterday when the administration agreed to revoke the recent fee-hike decision. The decision was unilaterally made by the Vice Chancellor without consulting the Board of Management, on the pretext that the State Governor had proposed the idea of a standard fee across all state colleges and universities.
As per the proposed hike, the examination fee was said to go up from Rs 300 to as high as Rs 1500 in the year 2018 for almost 250 colleges that come under the university. On 28th November during the convocation ceremony, students presented a memorandum to Education Minister Kiran Maheshwari opposing the fee hike, following which SFI General Secretary of Bikaner, Omprakash Sidhv was arrested.
On 29th and 30th November, after a call given by SFI, students from all districts and colleges came together to present memorandums to the Vice Chancellor against this decision. The very next day, students from all over the university got together in a show of solidarity against the Education Minister for an effigy burning. This was followed by a protest rally from Dangur University to the office of the District Collector on 4th December, as well as an overall academic strike on the 5th of December.
During the course of this strike, SFI state secretary, Sunil Punniya and other students were mistreated, manhandled and given threats by the police officials present on site. On the very same day, President of the Students’ Union Praful Hatela (SFI) and student leader Madan Kasva (NSUI) were suspended from the university.
Finally, on 6th December, the students led by SFI participated in a sit in outside the office of the Vice Chancellor following which the demands were finally accepted. Along with the fee-hike, the suspension of both leaders was also revoked and the arrested student leader was released. Although a decision like a massive fee-hike affects all students, the protest was largely led by the SFI and saw little or no participation from student groups such as ABVP and NSUI.