Published: 18th November 2021
A month of protest later, Kolkata's Aliah University allows UG students to retain their rooms if they return for PG
The core demand of the protesting students is an increase in the number of hostels. The university only has three hostels, two are for women and all three are unevenly divided between two campuses
In what comes as temporary relief to the students of Kolkata's Aliah University — who have been on a protest for more than a month now — the varsity has bowed down to one of their demands. On November 12, it came out with a circular allowing hostel continuation to students who wish to pursue masters from the varsity. Rusia Mallick, a second-year MA Bengali student, says, "Earlier we had to re-apply for the hostel accommodation after we finish our course. Getting a hostel here is very difficult and most of us come from far away places."
Explaining how it is a struggle to get hostel accommodation in the first place, she says, "When we get it at the time of admission, we feel like we have achieved something great. But then it is snatched away from us and we are again caught in the same rut of bureaucratic struggle at the time of PG admission." Rusia was in the final year of her UG degree when the pandemic hit and then it was the year of online learning. Rusia's batch would now be getting their hostel continuance in their second year.
Another student from Rusia's class, Nasima Khatoon, hails from a village in West Bengal's Birbhum district, which is approximately 200 km away from the capital. Khatoon said, "I really need this hostel, I had to go through the entire process of applying for the hostel and was told that there is no guarantee of it. There are many like me. The move is a relief but the issue is more about the lack of hostel facilities."
What Nasima is referring to is the core demand of the protesting students — an increase in the number of hostel facilities. The university only has three hostels, two are for women and all three are unevenly divided between two out of the three campuses.