Students protesting against discontinuation of non-National Eligibility Test (NET) fellowship for research scholars burnt effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and University Grants Commission (UGC) chairman Prof Ved Prakash Thursday, the second day of their “Occupy UGC” movement.
The movement could intensify Friday, the protesters warned. “Tomorrow we plan to not let any work happen in UGC, by blockading the gate and not letting any staff inside. Nothing can run normally in UGC unless the chairman reinstates the non-NET fellowship,” said All India Students’ Association (AISA) state secretary Ashutosh Kumar.
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According to the protesters, the discontinuation of the fellowship to the tune of Rs 5,000 and 8,000 per month, respectively for MPhil and PhD students, is a step to make Indian higher education compliant with World Trade Organisation-General Agreement on Trade in Services requirements.
Led by Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union, the protest includes students of University of Delhi, Jamia Millia Islamia, Ambedkar University and organisations such as AISA, DSF and SFI.
Besides Delhi, protests have been planned in different cities including Allahabad and Patna Friday. The Hyderabad Central University students’ union has also written to the UGC on the matter. The Delhi University Teachers’ Association has expressed “solidarity with all students and student organisations across the country protesting this UGC decision”.