Published: 06th August 2022
IIT Bombay students asked to change location of hunger strike, police called in
On the morning of August 6, the students received a WhatsApp message from a student representative that they were required to change their protest site
The students of IIT Bombay are continuing their hunger strike to protest against the recent fee hike. On the morning of August 6, Saturday, the students received a WhatsApp message from a student representative that they were required to change their protest site. This led to a scuffle between the students and the institute's administration, which escalated to having police being called to the campus.
A PhD scholar from among the group of protesters, who wishes to remain anonymous, informed EdexLive that there was no official notice from the administration, so the students decided to sit at their old protest site in the main building, in the SOM (School of Management) foyer. The institute had a Reunion Convocation scheduled for the day.
"But we did not sit inside the main building because we did not want to disturb the convocation that was happening. Still, when we sat peacefully in the SOM well foyer, there were lots of campus security and police who threatened us to leave or they will detain us and take disciplinary action against us," the scholar said.
"We were not creating any nuisance, while they were harassing and threatening us with disciplinary actions," he added, stating that the students asked the institute administration to send an official email to them asking them to change the protest location. "We responded that unless they send the mail officially to all students, we won't move to a new area," he said.
The scholar stated additionally that though the administration "harrassed" them, the students "held their ground" and refused to move, until officially asked to do so. Later, the Dean and the Deputy Director of IIT Bombay came to talk to the students. The students asked them to send the required official emails. Finally, the administration complied and the emails were sent.
The said emails were shared by the IIT Bombay scholar. One of them, which was sent by the Deputy Director reads, "We had asked students to not protest in SOM/main building and instead move to NCC grounds. In view of the heavy rain, the venue can be moved to SAC indoor court area (the Kho-Kho area). As explained earlier, we are not officially permitting any protest, but will not interfere with the protests if they take place in the suggested area."
The scholar also alleged that the security personnel snatched away their posters when they sat for the protest in the morning and did not give them back. "When the Dean and Deputy Director came to talk to us, we demanded that they give back the posters that were taken from us forcefully," he said.
"Now, students have moved to the new area. The security has given our posters back. Four faculty members had joined us in solidarity when we were threatened by the security personnel," the PhD scholar added.