BU wants students to call off stir

The move comes in the wake of the stir taking a 'casteist turn'. The problem started after warden Raghunandan, who took over in April, evicted a few Dalit students for overstaying at the PG2 hostel in the Jnanabharathi Campus and harassing the juniors.

Many of them continued to stay in the hostel for several terms against the rules and some brought their 'guests' who hanged on for years. This caused hardships for new students who could not find rooms.

According to a senior teacher, the students and their guests were occupying about 50 rooms and had refused to vacate them. Further, they would misbehave with the hostel staff.  They wanted the warden and others to dance to their tunes. The former wardens had meekly surrendered to their diktats but when Raghunanda refused, they launched the strike, the teacher said requesting anonymity.  

The university spends Rs 35 on each student every day. Besides, each student is paid Rs 200 in cash per month for miscellaneous expenses. But, these 'illegal' boarders would bully the juniors to part with their monthly pocket money.

"They would demand Rs 100 or more every month as donation. They would drink and indulge in other objectionable activities. We couldn't dare to question them fearing harassment," a student, wishing anonymity, said.

Complaint to police

Things began to change when Raghunandan brought discipline. But when the 'illegal' students refused to budge, he complained to the police.

As soon as the police van arrived at the hostel, many students ran away. The next day, Venkat Joshi, Mukunda, Sudhakar, Govinda, Kumaraswamy and Sathish went on strike demanding Raghunandan's removal. As a result, the hostel was closed.

Dr Murthy T H, Director, Centre for Rural Development Studies, who has been supporting the students, has accused the university administration of 'pestering' the protestors.

 He also contended that the university was resorting to 'casteist' profiling of students before admitting them to the hostel. On his part, Raghunandan asserted that the students were indeed overstaying. "They are depriving other deserving students," he told Deccan Herald.

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