IISc researchers to fast with detained scholars

Last Updated 17 January 2019, 20:23 IST

In solidarity with researchers nationwide, scholars at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) will go on a hunger strike on Friday at the institute's campus.

Students and faculty will gather in front of the main building and fast between 8 am and 8 pm, a researcher at the institute said.

"Yesterday something outrageous happened in the national capital and it is nothing but a mockery of democracy and citizenship rights. Around 2000 fellow researchers were forced into police custody for the 'grave' crime of peaceful protests demanding a hike in scholarship," a research scholar at the IISc reacted.

The fast at the IISc comes as a response to the reported detention of several research scholars in Delhi on Wednesday, who were demanding a hike in fellowship allowances.

"When we organised a candlelight march on Wednesday, over 300 researchers participated. We are looking at the same numbers for the hunger strike too," said Gaurav Solra, general secretary, IISc students council.

In front of the main building the research fellows will also stage a sit in, while continuing to work as they protest.

They want to send a strong message that research is crucial for the country's betterment.

"Detention of students is a bad example for India. These are researchers who are taking time out of their labs and seeking something. It is barbaric to act in such a manner against them," said Solra.

At the moment, junior research scholars are getting a stipend of Rs 25,000 while the senior research fellows get paid Rs 28,000.

Research scholars across the country had earlier demanded an 80% hike in stipends. According to them, with the minimal allowance, it is a challenge to make a living.

"This struggle has been going on since April 2018 and even today, the authorities are making vague promises of swift action without any genuine decisions in that direction. Science is one of the wheels which drive a state to prosperity and self-sustenance. We are proud to be a part of this process. But, at what cost? Our pleas are falling onto deaf ears and demands are being derided at," said another IISc researcher.

(Published 17 January 2019, 19:03 IST)

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