Published: 25th July 2019
PU students go on indefinite hunger strike demanding free bus services, rollback of fee hike and more
The students at PU have already begun their hunger strike since July 25, and they said it will go on until their demands are accepted
The students at the Pondicherry University led by the Pondicherry University Students' Council are on an indefinite hunger strike protesting against several measures taken up by the administration since Thursday morning. The students say that they will not give in until all their demands are met or they at least get a formal assurance from the varsity administration.
Condemning the anti-student mindset of the PU administration, Shonima Nelliat, Vice-President, Students' Council told Edex, "Students who have graduated three-four years ago have not yet received their provisional certificates, they cannot pursue further studies because they haven't received the documents. When we approach the controller, they blame the administration, when we approach them they blame the departmental managers, it's a blame game that has been going on but no steps have been taken to make things better. We already met the Registrar today morning but did not get a proper assurance that the demands will be met. The administration only said they would do something but did not give us a timeline or any written confirmation. They are making fake promises for a long time now but making no improvements. We will continue the hunger strike indefinitely until all our demands are met."
Former Students' Council President Junaid Nazar has also extended full support to the hunger strike stating that a student-friendly administrative system must be in order. "The free bus services should be resumed, unjust hike in the fees revoked and most importantly students should have an environment on campus to openly express their grievances. The administration cannot continue the blame game and should soon come up with a solution, " he added.
A Anand, former SFI President and current DYFI Puducherry President said that the Students' Federation of India (SFI) are also trying to garner support from other colleges in Puducherry. "From Monday we are all planning a protest, we are planning to boycott classes and stand in solidarity with the students' council at the Pondicherry University," he said.
A scene from the hunger strike at the varsity
The demands put forward by the students at the varsity include these:
1. Resume free bus services to Puducherry students immediately- since its inception the univevrsity has provided free service, but from this academic year the students have been asked to pay Rs 4000 per semester for transport services.
2. Roll back unjustified fee hike immediately for all the courses- The privatisation and commercialisation of education will not be tolerated. Exorbitant amount of fees should be discontinued.
3. Implement 25 per cent reservation for the students of Puducherry in all the courses- currently only a few departments provide such reservation, however, benefit should be extended to every department
3. Improve the hostel infrastructure- two new hostels that were constructed have no internet facilities.
"They had said they would provide double-decker beds for students in rooms, but they put students in dormitories. The water purifiers present are not enough, volume of water in the tanks is not sufficient for the number of students," added Shonima.