Govt threatens action, but GKVK students boycott exams

Govt threatens action, but GKVK students boycott exams

Students stage a protest at the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru.

Buckling under pressure from the state government to quell the student rebellion against privatisation of agricultural courses across Karnataka, the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Bengaluru, has begun to send "warning" messages to the parents of protesting students. The agitated students, from various agricultural colleges across Karnataka, have collectively decided to boycott their semester exams, beginning Monday. 

Demanding that the government should not allow private institutions to offer agricultural courses, the students’ protests entered the 14th day. Students from agricultural colleges in Bengaluru, Dharwad, Shivamogga and Raichur have been on a protest against the decision. 

In fact, the protesting students were summoned for talks by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy last week and the government assured them that it would take a relook at the policy. However, students are in no mood to budge and have refused to call off their strike. Perturbed by the students’ rebellion and facing pressure from the government, the colleges have begun to send out warning messages to parents. DH accessed a message sent out by the registrar of the UAS to the parent of a protesting student’.

What the message says... 

"The students are on strike since June 13, 2018. The government is examining the demands of the students and has sought to resolve issues, but the students are continuing the agitation. Therefore, it is informed to the parents of students that the UAS has decided to resume classes and exams on 25 June. If the students do not resume their normal academic activities, hostels and colleges will be closed down,” the message read.

    Meantime, a protesting student at GKVK, said, “The faculty has extended moral support to us. But the government is exerting pressure and hence the university is sending out warning messages. We requested the university officials to reschedule the examination until we get justice. But they refused to do so fearing a backlash from the government. Hence, all of us across Karnataka have decided to boycott our academic examination and protest till we get justice.”

    About 400 students have been protesting in front of the administrative building of the UAS at the GKVK. Chief Minister Kumaraswamy had assured the students last week that his government would look into the issue and consider amending the act so that no private institute can offer courses in agriculture. The protests are likely to gain momentum with final-year students sent on field training joining in this week.