/ Indian Express
The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student protests against the imposed fee hike by the Inter-Hall Administration entered its 24th day today. Though the agitation has taken a violent turn and many students have been injured in the fight for their rights, they have not lost their will to stand for the right of affordable education for all.
And in this fight, they have garnered support from not only their teachers, but also from students in universities from all over the country. On Wednesday, students from Delhi University (DU) protestedthe lathi charge their JNU counterparts were subject to by the police. The DU students who came out in support of JNU, protested against the New Education Policy calling it an ‘attempt’ to privatize education, reported the New Indian Express.
The Left-backed All India Students’ Association (AISA) that led the protests along with other student’s organisations supported the agitation against the Draft New Education Policy and the “brutal repression of the protest by Delhi Police and the government”.
Dissenting against the new education policy, they raised “anti-police” and “anti-government” slogans in support of their JNU counterparts who became victims of a ruthless baton charge by the Delhi Police on Monday.
Covering the Chhatra Marg and passing through the Campus Law Centre, students gathered in large numbers in dissent of the “draconian New Education Policy which acts as a stepping stone towards privatisation of public education”, burning effigies of the ruling government and the Delhi Police.
The Delhi Police was present in high numbers at the DU campus and students alleged that they were barricading the boundaries of the Arts faculty to stop students from marching into the campus. The police however denied the allegation saying that they were only there to ensure that the march of the DU students goes off peacefully.
Mumbai University students detained
The Mumbai Police on Wednesday, detained students from the Kalina campus of the Mumbai University who were holding a “peaceful” demonstration in support of the JNU students, and also against the “institutional murder” of 19-year-old Fathima Lathif from IIT-Madras.
Organised by the Maharashtra Joint Action Committee for Social justice along with students of the university, the protest saw students with banners showing solidarity for the ongoing resistance in JNU over the fee hike.
The police “forcefully detained” Avinash Kumar and Baban Sopan Thoke, after which Avinash, who belongs to the Disha Students Organisation, was taken to the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) police station, reported Mumbai Live.
Avinash said, “… they targeted me saying that I was from JNU and took me away. We are not criminals. A policeman in a threatening tone, told me that you don’t understand our power.”
Baban, an MA History student, alleged that he was manhandled by the police and that the students were treated like ‘gundas’ before being taken to the police station.
The All India Students’ Federation (AISF) Mumbai Secretary Aamir Kazi had informed that they attained permission to hold the protest. However, their permission was revoked and Sections 144 and 149 were imposed on Tuesday evening.
The students also demanded justice for Fathima Lathif whose suicide over harassment and religious discrimination in IIT-Madras was dubbed institutional murder by her fellow students. Fathima was found hanging from the ceiling fan in her room on November 9. The police found a note in her mobile phone where she had held responsible one faculty member for being the cause of her death.
JNU inspires IIT-Guwahati
Inspired by the fearless protests of the JNU students, students from IIT-Guwahati carried a silent candlelight vigil for one of their professors Dr. Brijesh Kumar Rai, who was ousted from the university after he unleashed the illegal activities of higher-ups in the institution, including those of the Vice-Chancellor.
The students formed an “I support Dr. Brijesh Kumar Rai” social media page to create awareness about the injustice and corruption in the varsity.
The students have also uploaded a YouTube video where Rai talks about the overall corruption riddling the institution and illegitimate practices in staff selection as well.
Protests erupting throughout universities in the country, be itIIT Delhi, IIT Madras or IIT Guwahati, may be for different reasons, but their end goal is to question the slow build-up of power structures in the system. Therefore, even as a proto-fascist regime attempts to shake the very foundations of education, fearless students have taken up the fight against privatisation and to prevent a right-wing and its sycophants from gaining control over what is free and fundamental to all – affordable education for one and all.
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