Don’t act against agitating students: SC body to TISS
The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) on Thursday recommended that the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) shouldn’t act against the 24 students, who were issued show-cause notices last week for agitating against the withdrawal of fee benefits for students from scheduled castes (SC) and scheduled tribes (ST).
Some of the 24 students had sought the commission’s intervention, after the institute cancelled the hostel and dining hall fee waiver given to SC and ST students. The students have also approached the National Commission for STs.
“The students’ agitation is not a very serious matter. They are the backbone of our society and are fighting for a popular cause. There’s no justification for the notice, unless they carry out any illegal activity,” said Ajit Kumar Sahu, deputy secretary, NCSC.
The next hearing of the commission is scheduled on June 4.
For the past three months, a group of students has been agitating on TISS campus against the institute’s decision to cancel fee waivers. “It is seen that even after repeated appeals by the institute, the students went on continuing their TISS Bandh Agitation, which was later intensified and students started indulging in unlawful activities including obstructing the free movement of people and materials within the campus,” read the notice, adding the institute would take action against the students for “indiscipline”. The students were given time till May 25 to explain their position.
The notice had irked the students. “This notice is nothing less than an act of intimidation and aggression against the petitioners who have appealed to the commission to get justice,” read a statement from the students.
Earlier, on March 27, the institute moved the Bombay high court (HC) against the protesting students, alleging they had encroached upon the registrar’s office and blocked the administrative wing of the institute the next day, making it inaccessible to any staff member. While the court allowed agitating students to continue their protests, it asked them not to disrupt day-to-day working of the institute.
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