'Occupy UGC' protesters march to Parliament, 150 detained

'Occupy UGC' protesters march to Parliament, 150 detained

Students from universities across the country camping outside the UGC office for the last 45 days against scrapping of non-NET fellowships today marched to the Parliament to raise their issue but were stopped midway.

According to police officials, 150 students were detained and police had to resort to water cannon and tear gas shells to disperse the crowd.

The students including those from JNU, DU, Jamia, Ambedkar University, Allahabad University, Jadavpur University, Aligarh Muslim University, Haryana University, Panjab University, among others, today participated in the "national mobilisation call" demanding that their suggestions be considered.

The students also registered their protest against proposed negotiations on higher education at the forthcoming WTO conference in Nairobi.

"We have been sitting on protest since 45 days but government has neither tried to have a conversation with us nor they have paid any heed to our demands. We are dispersed from here every now and then by police and now when we tried to march to the Parliament we were beaten up by police," said Sunny Kumar, one of the protester.
Praveen, a protester from JNU alleged, "many of us were beaten by police and injured despite our attempts to peacefully conduct a march".

Police officials, however, said that the students pelted stones at police prompting them to use water canons.

"Students started pelting stones at police deployed there following which we had use water canons and tear gas shells," a senior police official said.

UGC had in October resolved to discontinue the scheme of non-National Eligibility Test (NET) fellowship, which is provided to those undertaking research in Central universities across India, in a meeting held on October 7, citing shortage of resources.

But following protests by students, the Ministry of Human Resources and Development (HRD) had last week appointed a five-member panel to review the research grants offered by UGC. The ministry has also asked UGC to continue all existing grants.

The scheme is in place for providing financial assistance to students undertaking MPhil and PhD. They are provided Rs 5,000 and Rs 8,000 per month respectively.

However, students have rejected the government's statement and are demanding that the review criterion be changed and the fellowship amount increased.

Meanwhile, scores of students and teachers from various varsities are camping at Jantar Mantar here in protest against proposed negotiations on higher education at the forthcoming WTO conference in Nairobi.

The eight-day long All-India Resistance Camp began here yesterday after the agitating students and teachers marched to Jantar Mantar from the venue of "Occupy UGC" protest.

The students and teachers are of the view that if India commits its higher education to World Trade Organisation (WTO) during a meeting starting in Nairobi on December 15, education will become a tradable commodity.

The protesters were yesterday joined by social activists Medha Patkar, Yogendar Yadav, Kavita Krishnan, Tanika Sarkar and Harbans Mukhia among others, who raised their concerns over alleged fund-cuts and "sell out of education".

Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi? Who will win the battle royale of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019

Get real-time news updates, views and analysis on Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on Deccanherald.com/news/lok-sabha-elections-2019 

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram with #DHPoliticalTheatre for live updates on the Indian general elections 2019.

Comments (+)