No solution in sight,TISS students to intensify protests
The protests are against the management’s decision of rolling back of fee exemptions for reserved-category students.mumbai Updated: Mar 03, 2018 00:03 IST
Over 700 alumni of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) have come in support of the current batch of students across the four TISS campuses – Mumbai, Tuljapur, Hyderabad and Guwahati. The students have been protesting since the last nine days against the management’s decision of withdrawing the fee waiver given to reserved students.
On Friday, the alumni of the institute submitted a letter to the ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) as well as the management of TISS, in solidarity with the ongoing movement.
“We as well as the protesting students are well aware about the challenges posed by the Government of India (GoI) to TISS. We are also aware about the initiatives taken by TISS administration all this while to implement the fee waiver, so that all students can reap the benefits of higher education. However, we believe the recent decisions of increasing the fee by several folds and the rolling back of fee exemptions for Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and OBC-NC (Other Backward Class-Non Creamy layer) students, has put a lot of burden on the students,” said one of the former students.
“We strongly condemn some of the remarks made by the former director of the institute, referring to the fee exemption as a favour made towards SC, ST and OBC-NC students,” said the former student.
The management of TISS on Thursday met protesting students at the Mumbai campus to discuss an amicable solution.
“The institute still doesn’t understand our situation. We will intensify our protest across all four campuses of the country, as the proposals by the management do not live up to the principles and ideals of this protest,” said a student.
Students in the Mumbai campus are planning to organise a march in the city, the coming week.
“We are planning to conduct a march from the Mumbai campus, but we are yet to decide the day and the end point of the march,” said another student.
A bandh was called by the TISS Students’ Union on February 20 to protest the institute’s decision to withdraw the fee waiver given to SC, ST and OBC students, eligible for last year’s Government of India Post Matric Scholarship (GoI-PMS). On February 25, representatives of the institute’s management held a three-hour long meeting with the protesting students to find an alternate solution to the problem. Students, however, refused to budge until their demands are met.
With no acceptable solution coming from the institute, students have also written to various ministries within the central government, as well as to several state governments for help.
“A letter has reached the Ministry of Social Justice, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, as well as the University Grants Commission (UGC). We are also approaching all the state governments across the country to which our fellow batch mates belong to,” said another protesting student.
Earlier this week, Janata Dal (United) Member of Parliament Sharad Yadav had also written to Union HRD minister, Prakash Javadekar, in support of the TISS students.
“It is the social responsibility of the government to protect the interests of TISS students from the SC, ST and OBC categories, and help them avail the scholarship they rightfully deserve, for the sake of higher studies. I therefore, request you to intervene in the matter, so that TISS continues to support the 566 GoI-PMS-eligible students across their four institutes,” stated the letter by Yadav.