Students of Mumbai University (MU) under the banners of ‘Save Mumbai University’ and ‘Students Joint Action Front’ went on a one-day symbolic strike Monday. They alleged that their demands were not met or discussed at the management council meeting Saturday. Students said revoking Prof Neeraj Hatekar’s suspension was just one of their many demands and that they would continue their movement till all the demands were met.
The hunger strike prompted the university administration to convene a meeting with the students on January 21.
A university spokesperson said, “A delegation of students had met the pro-vice chancellor and registrar on January 11. They had submitted their charter of demands and we had assured them that we will look into them soon. We will meet the students on January 21 at Ambedkar Bhavan in Vidyanagri campus, Kalina to discuss the matter.”
Over 10 students representing various departments of the university went on hunger strike, while 300 others, including some faculty members, supported them.
Some of the demands made by the students include establishment of a students’ grievance redressal cell, setting up of a central placement cell to be initiated by taking into consideration the perspective of each department, a competitive academy to be provided with adequate resources and faculty to give students ample opportunity to compete and provision of accessible sports facilities to all students of the university on Kalina campus.
“The agitation cannot end with the revocation of Hatekar’s suspension. We will continue the movement until major grievances of students and teachers are addressed. A charter of demands was submitted to the MU administration last week and action was sought within eight days. However, there has been no dialogue, let alone action. This shows the lack of commitment on the part of the university towards its students,” said Amol Kale, a student.
Kale added, “Although Hatekar has been reinstated, the points he raised were termed as false and baseless, which is not true.”
Another student said the decision to revoke Hatekar’s suspension was a major victory for campus democracy.
“We will not give up until the MU administration resolves the issues raised by Hatekar and meets the demands raised by students,” said the student.
The long list
- Subsidy on monthly mess bill for hostel students for a minimum amount of Rs 700 per student
- Gym facilities to be started using equipment already purchased and made available to students
- Existing computer facilities in all departments to be made accessible for all students
- Earn-and-learn scheme payment to be increased to Rs 50 an hour and payment to be made at the end of each month
- Reading room should be made available to all students (men and women) 24 hours a day, with adequate security
- Adequate security measures at each ladies’ hostel
- Streetlights to be installed on parts of the campus where they are lacking
- Provision of basic facilities to each department, such as drinking water, benches, lecture hall, waste bins, common room and hygienic toilets
- Improvement of health centre facilities by employing resident doctors