Published: 17th December 2018
Rohith Vemula's family stands with TISS students as they start a hunger strike
An emergency meeting was called on December 15 and the students decided to go on an indefinite hunger strike till their demands are met or the management is ready for some negotiation
Rohith Vemula's mother Radhika Vemula and brother Raja extended their support towards the students of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad as they commenced their indefinite hunger strike at 9 am on December 17. The students are protesting against the administration's decision to discontinue the BA in Social Sciences course at the Hyderabad campus and make the campus non-residential. The Telangana Save Education Committee also joined the students.
The administration's decision came when the students were on their semester break and even though there has been no official notice yet the administration, allegedly, has confirmed that they will not budge from their decision. "Two of our students met the administrative staff at the Mumbai campus and they were told that this decision was being taken due to the lack of infrastructure. While it's true that the institute operates out of the Telangana State Institute of Panchayat Raj and Rural Development's campus, it has been like this from the first day. There has been no change in the situation to prompt such a decision," said Bibin Sam Thomas, a final year BA Social Science student. "We got to know about the issue when people tried to apply for the BA course and could not find a link on the website. Then came news reports saying that the course has been scrapped and they will also discontinue hostel facilities. Our first form of protest was to boycott fees. That's all we could do from home."
It's not just the BA students protesting, some of the MA students have also boycotted their classes and are participating in the protest. The management committee met the student representatives at 3.30 pm on December 13 — but the protest intensified after the talks turned out to be futile. "The Deputy Director along with the management committee members shrugged off all the responsibilities. He said that our demands venture into issues that the Hyderabad administration cannot decide. They said that they equivocally support the decision," said Vaivab Das, MA in Women Studies, "They said that they empathise with us but they have to stand by the declaration, when we told them that making the campus non-residential will make the institute inaccessible to a large section who cannot afford private accommodation."
An emergency meeting was called on December 15 and the students decided to go on an indefinite hunger strike till their demands are met or the management is ready for some negotiation.