SAU Scholarship protest: Rusticated student in ICU after seizure, cardiac arrest due to 'stress'

The university has now said that the student's rustication has been reduced to suspension up until November 11. The student is reportedly unconscious and under observation
South Asian University | Pic: PTI
South Asian University | Pic: PTI

A student of South Asian University (SAU), New Delhi, has been hospitalised after suffering a seizure and a cardiac arrest as a result of alleged stress from being rusticated for his participation in the ongoing protests at the varsity. According to sources, the student, Ammar Ahmed, who hails from Muzaffarpur, Bihar, suffered a seizure at 11 pm on Tuesday, November 22. He was then taken to a hospital where he then suffered a cardiac arrest at around 3 am and had to be rushed to the Intensive Care Unit. The student reportedly has not regained consciousness yet and is under observation.

Students at SAU have been protesting for an increase in stipend for Master's students to Rs 7,000 and parity for international students with the Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) since last month. They have also been demanding representation in the student body of the varsity. The students embarked on an indefinite hunger strike on November 7. The protestors have also been demanding that the administration revoke the suspension and rustication orders issued to some of them by the varsity. 

Ahmed, a first-year student of MA Sociology, was rusticated by the varsity in connection with the protests. Sources told EdexLive that the student had pleaded before the university administration that he would not be able to survive on the current stipend for the Master's students, which is Rs 4,000, given the strained financial condition of his family. Students told EdexLive that in response, he was "sent a rustication notice from the office of the Proctor without any due procedure or show cause notice". 

The rustication reportedly caused extreme mental stress to Ahmed, who requested the administration to revoke their decision. However, with his pleas going unheard, the student allegedly collapsed on November 22, just days before his exams were set to begin on November 25. 

"We got no support from the administration in taking Ammar to the hospital. In fact, when we told the Acting President, RK Mohanty about Ammar's situation, he said, 'I am not interested.' The administration has also refused to revoke his suspension and has said they will take strict action against such protests in the future," said a student of SAU to EdexLive, on the condition of anonymity. They also added that the student needs to be shifted to AIIMS, Delhi in order to be given the care he needs and that the student's family is not in a position to handle his medical expenses.

The student body of SAU has now filed FIRs against the Acting President, the Acting Vice President and the Registrar of the college, and Proctor Kapil Sharma as well. They also claim that other students, who are reportedly on hunger strike without water, are also on the verge of collapse, with their blood sugar levels dangerously low.

On the other hand, an official from the SAU administration told EdexLive that it was the university that moved Ahmed to the hospital. "His CT scan and MRI readings are all normal. He continues to be under medical observation. Our Medical Officer and the Administration is in constant touch with the treating doctors," said the official.

The university has also decided to mitigate the steps taken against the protesting students, the official confirmed. "As a sign of goodwill, the university has accepted the requests of the students who were suspended/rusticated/expelled to reduce the steps taken against them, in such a way that expulsion got reduced to rustication till 22 Nov 2022, rustication got reduced to suspension till 11 Nov 2022 and suspension got reduced to a fine of INR 500," the official said.

Ahmed's rustication was also reduced to a suspension up until November 11, the university official added. The SAU administration has also claimed that they are conducting routine health check-ups of students on hunger strike and that an ambulance is on stand-by.

Related Stories

No stories found.