As the stalemate over the fee hike continued at Allahabad University, with the protesting students demanding a rollback and the university justifying the move, the district administration and the university authorities jointly held a dialogue with the representatives of various protesting students’ unions on Tuesday.\
As many as 20 representatives of different agitating unions, including Sanyukta Morcha, ABVP, etc, were invited to the dialogue, where professor Anamika Roy, professor Manmohan Krishna, and registrar Professor NK Shukla, among others, represented the university, while SP (City), City Magistrate and the Circle Officer concerned represented the administration, said officials.
The dialogue began at the North Hall of the university around 3 pm and continued till late in the evening.
The university later issued an official statement: “The agitating students put forward the demand for a complete rollback of the fees hike and of bringing back the student union by holding student union elections. The university clarified its stand on both the issues giving reasons and justification for the fee hike and stating that the matter regarding the student union is sub judice, and so no decision can be taken by the university authorities in the matter.”
According to the statement, a major point that the university administration has put forward is the Vice-Chancellor’s assurance that no bright, meritorious or poor student will be deprived of education because of the fee hike.
Ajay Samrat, convenor of the group of agitating students, told The Indian Express, “There was no indication of considering the rollback of the hiked fee. The same excuses were given in the past, too. However, the delegation said that they would discuss our issues with the Vice-Chancellor and inform us within two days. So, we will wait for the outcome and then decide the future course of action.”
According to the protesting students, currently, the university campus has been closed for the Dussehra holidays till October 10, but if they do not get proper response from the university administration, they will intensify their agitation.
“Most of us have two simple demands — withdraw the hiked fee as the education in a government university should be subsidised to give equal opportunity to all, and reinstate the students’ union,” said Samrat.
According to sources, earlier too, the university had invited the agitating students for a dialogue, but it could not take place as the university administration reportedly stated that the delegation had students who were no longer part of the university or any courses and asked the agitating students to send only those students who were enrolled with the university.
The university’s Executive Council approved fee hikes for different courses over a month ago.
Since then, a group of students have been protesting on the campus demanding the rollback of the alleged 400 per cent fee hike by the university, even as the university authorities pointed out that the fee has not been hiked for 110 years since the inception of the university in 1922.
The university said the fee hike was the need of the hour considering the changes being brought in in accordance with the National Education Policy, under which more teachers have to be hired and new courses have to be started. The university also clarified that none of the current students would be affected as the fee hike would only be applicable to the new entrants for the session 2022-23.