Glimpse from the protest | (Pic: Twitter handle @nikhilgurjar01)
Glimpse from the protest | (Pic: Twitter handle @nikhilgurjar01)

SGRR Dehradun: Students call off strike, internship commence date remains concern; case filed in high court

The authorities increased the fees from Rs 5 lakhs to 13 lakhs and applied it to the final year batch. They will not start the internship till the fee sues are met 

The students of Shri Guru Ram Rai Institute of Medical and Health Sciences (SGRRIMS), Dehradun, have called off their strike today, March 15. The decision comes after a meeting with the members of the Indian Medical Association (IMA). “We were forced to intervene since the situation was getting violent. A case has been filed at the High Court and in order to honour that the students have been asked to stop their strike temporarily,” confirmed Dr DD Chaudhury of IMA. 

These final-year students, who received their results on March 6, have been protesting for the last couple of days against the college administration, who put their internship on hold unless an additional Rs 37 lakh is paid. "We need to start our internships right away, and now they are asking for this large sum of money, retrospectively," says one of the final-year students who was among the set of students who spoke to EdexLive on the condition of anonymity. "We have already paid what we owe to the college as our fees."

The authorities increased the fees from Rs 5 lakh to 13 lakh and applied it to the final year batch as well, allege students. "What is more immediate at the moment is that we start our internships and the college is holding us back on that front," says another affected student. The college has made it clear that the internship will start only after the fees are clear. The administration is charging state quota students Rs 26 lakh and all India quota students Rs 37 lakh.

Protest visuals viral on social media
Additionally, yesterday, March 14, students allege that a group of outsiders stormed the SGRRIMS in an ambulance and vandalised the tents of protesting students. According to the students, these “administration's goons" forcibly removed them, resulting in injuries. The students have taken to Twitter to share videos of the violence that was unleashed on them yesterday and amplify their voices. “We are asked to vacate our hostels in response to a peaceful protest.  Girls are not allowed to enter hostels. This is mental harassment. We have nowhere to go. #internshipshuru karo SGRRIM&HS,” wrote a student, sharing a picture of the students in a sit-in protest with placards. "We had only occupied about 50 per cent of the main entrance area. There was enough space for the proper functioning of the college, yet they resorted to violence," informed another student.

In 2018, SGRRIMS, a private college in Dehradun, reportedly hiked their fees after the State Government of Uttarakhand had approved the proposal to allow private universities to decide their fee structures. The fee was raised from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 19 lakh per year, prompting the students to stage protests. 

What about NEET PG?
The college was fined by the Uttarakhand committee for the fixation on the fee structure of private educational institutions for charging fees according to their whims. The college raised concerns over the old fee structure of the fee fixation committee, but the matter was taken to court. Recently, they again raised their fees from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 13 lakh. "We have been suddenly imposed this amount, right at this juncture when we need to start our internship," says a student. The delay in the internship dates will cause further trouble for the students who are aiming for NEET PG next year.

In solidarity
Dr Manish Jangra, Founder of the Federation of All India Medical Association (FAIMA), expresses solidarity with the students, saying, "The students won't be able to appear for NEET PG next year if internships don't start immediately." He further emphasises that private colleges like SGRRIMS need to be seriously regulated by the National Medical Council (NMC) for their arbitrary actions. "The NMC is giving recognition to every other college, and there is no proper regulation. It is no longer about the quality of education."

Along with IMA and FAIMA,  he Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA) has also expressed its solidarity with the students. They took to Twitter and wrote, “What a shame! Peacefully #protesting students against a humongous and unjust fee hike at SGRRI medical college, Dehradun was mercilessly beaten and manhandled by local crowds. Alleged involvement of the administration behind this cruel act. They’ve evicted students from the hostel too!”

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