Published: 18th July 2019
Meet Prabakaran, the lone TISS-Hyderabad student from the 'Land of Periyar' who continues to hunger strike
Prabakaran who hails from Tamil Nadu is pursuing his second year of Masters in Public Policy and Governance
Until July 17, four students from TISS, Hyderabad had been on a hunger strike for the last six days. Today, three of them had to withdraw as their health severely deteriorated and the doctors warned them of serious implications. The doctors also warned Prabakaran AK, a student from the School of Public Policy to give up on his hunger strike, so did his friends - but he's refusing to stop.
Prabakaran, who hails from Tamil Nadu, is pursuing his second year of Masters in Public Policy and Governance. He has been invested in the struggle against exorbitant fees for SC, ST students from TISS' December protests. He has been vocal about his thoughts on the matter on Facebook since the protests started. Prabakaran says he doesn't belong to any political party or student organisations but calls himself a Periyarist.
Two days ago, when the TISS administration closed down the campus sine-die, he took to Facebook to post this message — I'm not calling off the hunger strike, I am continuing it. And remember my address. this is Prabakaran from the Land of Periyar. Ever since then, he has refused to back down. "The doctor has been coming to the campus and treating the students on hunger strike. Today, the doctor asked Prabakaran to go to the hospital, we also kept asking him but he kept refusing," his friend said.
When things got worse though, Prabakaran was rushed to the hospital for a check up. "But he's not calling off his strike," his friend tells us. We were unable to speak to Prabakaran as he has lost his voice and he ensured he shared his friend's number with us, so we would get all the details.
Just four hours ago, he wrote on FB that the reason why he was continuing his strike was to show the administration that their protest was a peaceful one. His last update was a video of that the students have been sharing of allegedly of Murali Krishna, a member of the Management Committee. In the video, Krishna says that there was no agreement between the administration and CN Reddy, who is currently running the TISS hostels. From Day 1, the students have been asking for the administration to show the hostel tender but have been complaining that the management has refused to heed to their requests.
In the video, a person who is allegedly a member of the Management Committee can be heard saying, "No institute will completely work according to the rules. But the same institute will not deviate from the rules, when it comes to attendance and illness." He goes on to say that there is no problem with the service provider quitting and that there was no agreement.
Now on their tenth day of protest, the students say they are going to continue to agitate. They have already filed a writ petition in court to revoke the sine-die. Today, they filed a second one regarding the issue of the hostel fees. "We have no other option but to go to court," a student said.
Prabakaran though has said he is not going to call off the strike unless the administration responds positively.