Students and DRC authorities, in a face-off

Students and DRC authorities, in a face-off

ISSUE BASED

The message being sent out to rebellious students is, attempt rebellion and be prepared for victimisation. If this statement seems a little harsh, check out the probl­e­ms being faced by students of Daulat Ram College (DRC), who are paying for raising their voices against authorities who had banned laptops and cell phone use in the college hostel last November. 

The rules set by authorities received so much flak and criticism from students that it eventually was withdrawn, earning a small victory for students. What they hadn’t bargained for was the subsequent victimisation that would follow.

To begin with, the hostel authorities have disallowed re-admission for those hostel­l­ers who had taken part in last year’s agitation. Procedurally, students seek re-admission each subsequent year in their respective courses and the ho­stel, but that is really a technicality. This time round, DRC authorities decided to conduct multiple interviews of students and their parents before granting re-admission to the hostel. 

Vinita Lohia*, a III year stude­nt who had participated in last year’s agitation, told Metrolife: “I was very much part of the campaign in November and now I am being victi­m­i­s­ed because of that. My pare­nts were called from my ho­me­ town for multiple rounds of interviews for re-admission in the hostel. There is, however, no rule which says that interviews will be conducted for re-admission. Our then hostel warden Sushma Tandon res­o­­rted to character assassination in front of my parents. She to­ld them all kinds of lies ab­o­ut me.”

She is not the only one. There are others who are facing this music too. “This who­le issue has made our lives hell. I have to stay with my relatives now as they have kicked us out from the hostel. My parents were humiliated during interviews and told that I am an ill-mannered girl who does not follow rules and regulations of the college,” said Meera Virk*. 

Vinita also adds that stude­nts were made to shell out extra money for the hostel during the exams, “We were as­k­ed to pay extra money as we were told ‘either give the money or leave the hostel’ during the exams. We paid up. Where would we have found alternate accommodation at that time?”

There is more. Beginning this session, the hostellers have been asked to pay Rs 71,000 as hostel fees (up from 63,000 last year) plus Rs 18000 separately as mess charges, taking the grand total to Rs 89,000. Come May 21, 2013 and the hostel fee will be revised. The mess charges alone will be on a per day basis. Students will then have to shell out Rs 350 per day which works out Rs 1,27,750 as mess charges alo­ne, in addition to hostel fees! 

 The students have decided to continue with their protests. A batch of students has launched a signature campaign demanding ‘immediate and appropriate action’ against the hostel-in-charge and warden, Sushma Tand­on, who is believed to be behi­nd the whole mess. According to college staff, she re­t­ired as the warden on August 1, but was re-instated as hostel-in-charge because of her proximity to higher authorities. According to Dr. Malti Gupta, acting principal of DRC, “There is nothing illegal in upgrading anybody after retirement. We have done it in consultation with the college authority and are looking into the students’ matter also. 

The students’ campaign, meanwhile, has alre­a­dy gathered 800-900 signatures and will soon be presented to VC. 

Even as the whole incident puts the future of students at stake, the authorities are busy carrying out meetings. “Things will be solved in favour of the students,” said Dr. Padamshree Mudgal, convener of Students’ Amenities Committee of DRC.Neha Das

*Some names changed on request

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