Fee hike issue rocks Visva-Bharati again

Nearly a week after authorities at Santiniketan’s Visva-Bharati University brokered peace with students — assuring that there will be a rollback of the fee hike — tension is brewing at the Central university again.

Written by Express News Service | Kolkata | Published: July 19, 2010 3:34 am

Nearly a week after authorities at Santiniketan’s Visva-Bharati University brokered peace with students — assuring that there will be a rollback of the fee hike — tension is brewing at the Central university again.

Late on Saturday night,police lathicharged students who had gheraoed the residence of the Vice-Chancellor Rajat Kanta Ray.

The protests had begun after the university decided to increase the annual fees of undergraduate courses from Rs 679 to Rs 5,590 and post-graduate courses from Rs 889 to Rs 6,440. On July 10,after two days of suspension of work,the students had withdrawn their agitation over fees hike after the rollback promise.

The authorities had sought seven days to settle the issue but when no directive for fee reduction came,the students gheraoed the residence of the V-C on Saturday.

Throughout Sunday,demonstrations rocked the campus and the students decided to go for an indefinite strike. Offices and other educational institutions will not function from Monday,they warned.

In the evening,they burnt the effigies of university authorities — including that of the Vice-Chancellor — and held a candlelight rally to protest against the lathicharge.

There was criticism about the authorities’ statement that those who cannot pay the fees should not enroll at the university. The students have formed a group — Visva Bharati Fee Pratirodh Committee — which is spearheading the protest. The group has the support of both Chhatra Parishad and Trinamool Congress Chhatra Parishad.

According to university authorities,the fee hike is inevitable as the University Grants Commission has given a clear direction to the university to mobilise its own funds and there has been a reduction in its non-plan non-developmental grants.

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