IIIT Basara bans mobile phones on academic premises, even as students plan more protests

The university was recently in the eye of the storm after 200 students fell sick after consuming mess food. The students have a list of other pressing concerns as well
Pic: Edexlive
Pic: Edexlive

Mobile phones have been banned for faculty and students at the academic premises of Rajiv Gandhi University of Knowledge Technologies (RGUKT), also known as IIIT Basara. The institute has been besieged by protests from students over the past month over various administrative issues. While the students had planned yet another protest yesterday, July 24, they were unable to go through with it. According to Lavanya Gundeti, Vice-President of the Student Governing Council (SGC), the ongoing semester exams and the incessant rains prevented the protest from taking place.

The ban on the use of mobile phones adds to what the students are calling a "Section 144-like situation" on the campus. Last week, the institute's administration issued a set of rules that prevented students from moving or gathering outside their hostel rooms, or classrooms. They also warned us that if any student raises a voice against faculty or security, then we will be picked up, adds Lavanya. 

The students had submitted a representation to the in-charge Vice-Chancellor, listing demands such as the provision of laptops for all students, faculty recruitment, and the renovation of the Pre-University College (PUC) block, all of which are long-pending, according to the students. Additionally, they are also asking for the appointment of a new VC, removal of the present mess contractor and issue of tenders to give a new catering contract to ensure good quality food is served in the mess. This last demand arose in light of 200 students falling sick after consuming food from the hostel mess. "These students are still recovering from food poisoning and it's one of the reasons why we cannot protest at the moment. We are planning for one soon, but we do not want to reveal the date," Lavanya shares. 

Apart from preventing the protest, the rains in Hyderabad have also created issues for students in the hostel. Videos shared with EdexLive depict knee-deep waters flooding the girls' hostel on campus. The students also add that the PUC block is constituted in what was supposed to be temporary premises, and does not have the required capacity in the hostel, mess, or classrooms. 

"We are simply demanding that student amenities be distributed equally. The administration does not give us any clarity on these issues, and says it will be done in three to four months," the student says. Last Sunday, on July 17, there was a meeting between the VC and Director and the parents, and they were told that electrical and plumbing works were underway. "We have not received any word on our other demands. On top of that, this ban on mobile phones is impacting us because we have been studying online for the last two years. But requests to recall the ban are falling on deaf ears," Lavanya rues.

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