Published: 25th September 2019
BHU hunger strike: No reaction from administration as students continue protest past 24-hour mark
The administration has not yet responded to the protesting students who have pledged to continue the hunger strike till their demands are met, in any way
It has been more than 24 hours since five students belonging to the Bhagat Singh Chhatra Morcha (BCM), a student organisation in Banaras Hindu University, started their indefinite hunger strike demanding the reinstatement of a Students' Union, better hostel facilities and library privileges. Shockingly, no one from the administration has addressed them yet. While five students are on hunger strike many more have joined them in the sit-in.
Aakansha, Vishwanath, Ranjan, Asutosh and Sashikath are the five students who have been on an indefinite strike from September 24. The students also submitted a memorandum to the Vice-Chancellor with a list of 11 demands related to students' issues. "No one from the administration has said anything yet. Members of the Proctorial Board had visited us once but that was just to receive our list of demands. We condemn this type of indifferent attitude of the Rakesh Bhatnagar-led administration. Why do we even have to protest for something as basic as proper bathrooms and library?" asked Aakansha, a first-year MA Political Science student of the university who has been on strike from yesterday.
The students have asked for hostel facilities for everyone, an increase in the number seats in the library to 1,000 and keep it open 24x7 for the students, implementation of Gender Sensitization Committee against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) on campus, along with more and better toilets for women across departments. They also asked for 24x7 open canteens, clean water and other basic demands of the students. "The BHU administration paid no attention to our demands. So we, the students of BHU, are forced to go on a hunger strike. We appeal to all the students, professors and citizens to support us in this struggle. We will continue the hunger strike till our demands are met," said Vishwanath, Vice-President of BCM and a third-year student of Sociology at the university.
The students asked for the abolition of curfew timings in women hostels, sanitary pad vending machines to be installed on campus and an EOC (Equal opportunity cell) to be constituted for students with disabilities to provide for their necessities — academic or otherwise. We also demand that the administration restores the Students Union, Employees Union and Teachers Association. They should also arrange for canteen facilities in all the female hostels along with subsidised mess and canteens of all hostels," said a statement by the BCM. "In the new hostel, the allocation of more than 2 girls in one room should be stopped. We also demand that only the non-academic staff be appointed in women hostels in all the posts including that of the warden," it further added.