Over half a dozen student activists were detained on Thursday for protesting in front of the Ministry of Education here to press for reopening of university campuses and timely disbursement of fellowships, among other demands. “SFI Activists detained in front of MHRD for demanding- Re-opening Campuses Immediately, Stop Increasing Digital Divide, Timely Disbursement Fellowship, Scholarships, Stop Diluting the Reservation Policy, Ensure Proper Counselling for addressing mental health issues,” Jawaharlal Nehru University president Aishe Ghosh tweeted.
The members of the Left-affiliated Student Federation of India (SFI) were detained by the Delhi Police. A senior police officer said around 15 members of the SFI had gathered in front of MHRD here.
“At least seven-eight of them have been detained and taken to Mandir Marg police station,” he added. Similar demands were also raised in a memorandum submitted to the chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC) by the All India Students’ Association (AISA) and Jawaharlal Nehru Students’ Union (JNUSU). The student bodies said students from the worker, peasant and marginalised communities were adversely affected by lack of resources and “unequal distribution”, “with women students suffering even more”.
“As the COVID-19-enforced lockdown comes to completes one year, the emergency mode of digital education threatens to become normalcy. This mode of teaching and learning has left a vast majority of students behind and their education prospects in want. Half the students in almost all batches are unable to join the classes, while many others face difficulties in finding online reading material, especially in Hindi,” they said.
The letter, undersigned by AISA general secretary Prasenjeet Kumar and JNUSU general secretary Satish Chandra Yadav, demanded reopening of all the universities and colleges. “Whether it be through deferred classes, divide in shifts or scrapping of necessary attendance, the need of the hour for the students is the immediate reopening of all educational campuses,” the memorandum read.
The student leaders also demanded disbursement of all pending scholarships, proper implementation of reservations and affirmative action policies in all universities and colleges, adequate aids of internet and laptops to all students in need, waiving of all tuition/hostel fee for the lockdown duration, uniform access to Hindi reading material, and one-year extension to all research scholars.