Police action against students protesting at UGC

NEW DELHI: Delhi Police lathicharged students protesting outside University Grants Commission office on Tuesday evening.

Having rejected the HRD ministry’s new proposal for the non-NET fellowship, the students had spent Monday night around the metro station at ITO. By the evening, there were ‘cultural programmes’ and even a play. A little before 6 pm, the police used “mild force” apparently “to get them onto a bus.”

Many of the students, including Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar, were injured in the incident. The protestors allege that the police beat them up even when they were inside the bus. They also claim that the police refused to allow some of them to go and get medical help.

Over 30 of these student protestors have been detained at the Kamla Market police station. Some of the detainees were alarmed when they were asked for their permanent addresses and feared arrest.

“We will not let this action break our spirit. We appeal to students from all over the country to rush to Delhi and join the movement here. We will come in even larger numbers and reclaim our right to education,” JNUSU vice-president Shehla Rashid Shora said.

For the second time this week, All India Students’ Association found itself sending out a call to students to come and take the place of detainees at the UGC office. Teachers and student groups have condemned the police act.

Students have rejected the MHRD proposal which involved reviving the non-NET fellowship even for state universities but offering it to students selected on the basis of merit and income instead of making it universal.

A student delegation had met UGC chairman Ved Prakash yesterday evening. They were assured that the fellowship will be continued even for new students but students were not ready to accept a commitment delivered verbally.