Stu­dents face off with cops in In­dia amid fee protest

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

New Delhi, In­dia - Hun­dreds of stu­dents from a New Delhi univer­sity faced off on Mon­day with po­lice, who stopped their march to­wards par­lia­ment to protest in­creased stu­dent hous­ing fees.

The stu­dents from Jawa­har­lal Nehru Univer­sity at­tempted to cross po­lice bar­ri­cades. Po­lice de­tained sev­eral stu­dents dur­ing the march.

The Jawa­har­lal Nehru Univer­sity Stu­dents’ Union said in a state­ment that the stu­dents were at­tacked by the po­lice dur­ing the protest. ‘The po­lice used bru­tal force to dis­rupt our peace­ful march and sev­eral stu­dents have been in­jured’, the state­ment said. The po­lice had to close three metro sta­tions be­cause of the trou­bles.

The stu­dents wanted to ap­peal to law­mak­ers to in­ter­vene in their univer­sity’s de­ci­sion to hike the fees, which they have been protesting for more than two weeks. Last week, hun­dreds of protesting stu­dents clashed with the po­lice dur­ing the univer­sity’s grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony.

Rent for a sin­gle-bed room was in­creased to the equiv­a­lent of more than US$8 per month from less than US$1 per month. The se­cu­rity de­posit dou­bled to more than US$160.

Many stu­dents said they fear the fee struc­ture would make ed­u­ca­tion in­ac­ces­si­ble to un­der­priv­i­leged stu­dents.

“I am the first from my fam­ily to study at a univer­sity. By rais­ing hous­ing fees, the univer­sity ad­min­is­tra­tion is putting a price on af­ford­able ed­u­ca­tion,” said Jy­oti Sharma, a stu­dent at the march.

Stu­dents held signs at the march read­ing ‘Save pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion’ and ‘ En­sure af­ford­able hos­tels for all’.

Com­mu­nist Party of In­dia (Marx­ist) leader Si­taram Yechury of­fered his sup­port to the protesting stu­dents.


Jawa­har­lal Nehru Univer­sity stu­dents shout slo­gans as they protest against hos­tel fee hike in New Delhi on Mon­day

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