Published: 05th January 2019
Have faith in Modi but hunger strike will go on: Why research scholars are continuing strife despite assurance
The research scholars had been promised a speedy solution by ministries for over 4 months
The research scholars of India who have been protesting for a hike in their stipends for the past four months have decided to go on an indefinite hunger strike from January 16, and will not budge till the government gives them an official notice.
Nikhil Gupta, National Representative of Research Scholars of India, said, "From January 16 we are going to adopt a silent mode of protest and an indefinite hunger strike is an integral part of it. There have been too many fake promises made to us. No more tweets and no more trying to divide us on the basis of caste, funding agencies or examinations."
The research scholars had been promised a speedy solution by principal scientific advisor K VijayRaghavan, Department of Science and Technology Secretary Ashutosh Sharma, Dr Harsh Vardhan (Union Minister DST) and Prakash Javadekar (Union Minister MHRD). "We were told that our issues will be considered and hopefully solved by December 2018. We are working relentlessly in the fields of agriculture, defense, medical sciences, engineering, etc so that our country can develop faster. I don't get why the government is ignoring us," said Nikhil, who is also a scholar at CBMR SGPGI Lucknow.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while inaugurating the 106th Indian Science Congress at Jalandhar on January 3, said, "Our strong research ecosystem must be developed in such universities and colleges. I call upon the Prime Ministerial Science, Technology and Education Council to discuss this issue in detail and formulate an agenda in collaboration with the MHRD."
He also added that India's greatness lies in connecting the scientific advancements to the society and its needs, "Lal Bahadur Shastri said Jai Jawan Jai Kisan and Vajpayee added Jai Vigyan to it at Pokhran. I believe it is now time to take one more step forward and add Jai Anusandhan to it."
Researchers find these remarks endearing, but ineffective at this point. The scholars demand an 80 per cent hike in their fellowship applicable from April 1, 2018. "I trust the PM. But the question when will these issues be resolved? No one has mentioned a date yet," added Nikhil.