Published: 13th July 2019
TISS Hyderabad protest: Silence from institute pushes hunger strike into Day 2, support pours in
TISS Hyderabad students say that the hunger strike will go on until the administration addresses the students’ concerns and demands
The students of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Hyderabad, have been staging a mass protest for the past five days and some have also been on a hunger strike since Friday, against the exorbitant amount of hostel fees that they are expected to pay per year. Led by the Student Action Committee of TISS-Hyderabad, they are demanding a revision in the hostel fees, a unified mechanism for hostel fee payment and accountability in general hostel issues.
TISS students have said that they have been struggling to pay the fees and the current rules and regulations demand upfront payment of more than Rs 50,000 for the entire semester for a hostel room. "This is the second day of the hunger strike and the sixth day of the protest. We have asked for a reduction of the hostel fee. Also, the SC-ST students should be given relaxation in payment of the fee. No advance payment should be charged. There is no warden in the hostel. The hostel is run by a private service provider and the fee is nearly Rs 9000 per month," says a current student from TISS Hyderabad, requesting anonymity.
The students have also said that on Friday night police entered the campus to know about the mode of protest. "Eight students started a hunger strike and twelve more joined them in the afternoon as the TISS administration has not responded to our demands yet. The police have asked the authority to meet the students," a student adds.
"Since the admin showed reluctance to turn up and answer our questions, the students decided to stay overnight at the campus. Further, around 8 pm on Friday, three admin members came to the campus, fully aware of the ongoing hunger strike but did not utter a single word to the students and left," says Debarati Choudhury, a student, who is currently studying in TISS Hyderabad.
According to a press release issued by the Student Action Committee, one of the police officials told the protesting students that "a meeting with Dr Vindhya (Acting Deputy Director) is expected to take place on July 13 (Saturday) however no official confirmation has been released yet, and the students continue to wait."
Support has been flooding in for the protesting students from various student forums and organisations since they went on a hunger strike.
The Students' Federation of India issued a statement on Saturday saying that they stand in solidarity with the ongoing protest in TISS Hyderabad. "It is a matter of concern that the students in various campuses of TISS are left with no consideration by the administration but to opt regular protests even for their basic rights. We have seen similar protests on the same campus last year too. This time the students raised up against the new fee structure and hostel rules which is driving the students of deprived background to drop out. SFI demands the TISS administration to immediately come in agreement with the democratic demands and ensure no discriminatory regulations will be imposed on students any further," a statement released by the SFI President VP Sanu and General Secretary Mayukh Biswas, said.
The School of Public Policy and Governance's batch of 2017-19 also extended their support saying, "The SPPG Batch (2017-19) extends its support and stand in solidarity with the ongoing protest happening at TISS, Hyderabad campus against the anti-student policies of the institution."