Having received no recognition from Delhi University (DU) or the government after sitting on an indefinite dharna for the past 42 days, a student group began a week-long hunger strike today against unaffordable rents.
Students have been demanding proper enforcement of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958, which states that the property owner should provide a receipt for the rent received.
Praveen Singh, Convenor of Right to Accommodation says, “Right now, it is literally unaffordable to live comfortably as a student on campus. Landlords charge any amount they wish. We have been demanding implementation of the Delhi Rent Control Act for some time, but no one is paying any attention to the issue. That’s why we have decided to go on a hunger strike”.
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The demands of the group include implementation of the Act, affordable accommodation to DU students and a ‘no profit-no loss’ canteen or mess in DU colleges, departments and faculties.
The press release announcing the hunger strike, with effect from Gandhi Jayanti, has been signed by Praveen Singh, convener of Right to Accommodation, Ajay Singh from Ramjas College, Bhupendra Yadav, Ambedkar College and Jitendra from Law Faculty.
The issue of rent regulation is not new to DU. It has been a key, and perhaps, a winning agenda for the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) elections for the past two years.
“All parties, on paper, agreed that this was a big issue and that they were behind us. But no one has been able to do anything to change the situation on ground,” said Praveen Singh.
The group organised a similar hunger strike last year too. Six people, including a few students, sat on the hunger strike at Christian Colony at Patel Chest, North Campus.
Over seven days, various tenants of Christian Colony organised themselves to fight for rent regulation. Candle marches were organised in adjoining areas like Mukherjee Nagar and Vijay Nagar. Tenants from these areas had joined the protest.