Days after the students of Karve Institute of Social Service (KIoSS) started their agitation over eviction of boys from the hostel on the campus, the institute has moved the civil court seeking injunction against the students’ protest. Seventeen students have been named in the complaint, but on Thursday, the date of the first hearing, seven of them backed out, leaving 10 students to fight the case.
For the last 20 days, some students of Master of Social Work (MSW) at KIoSS have been sleeping in makeshift tents outside the boys’ hostel. The students are protesting against the management over the eviction of boys from the hostel within the campus. While the management had provided alternate accommodation, the boys complained that it was uninhabitable and demanded accommodation on campus.
The affected boys have received support from a number of fellow students and many of them, including a few girls, have also parked themselves in tents outside the hostel in solidarity.
The institute management, in its application in court, has claimed that the 17 students had made an “illegal” demand for hostel facility in existing hostel building. The institute has said that the students’ protest was a case of “trespass, nuisance and hindrance to routine activities”. It has also claimed that other students and staff were being restrained from conducting classes and an “atmosphere of threat” prevailed on the campus.
The institute management had, in January this year, decided to stop the hostel facility as only six students had opted for it. It had asked them to move to another building across the road.
The students, who were present in the courtroom on Thursday, have refused to give up the fight. “We are the students of social justice. How can we keep quiet when we are being made victims of injustice? At the time of giving admissions, the institute did not use terms like profitability or a minimum number needed for hostel accommodation. We have paid the fees for accommodation in campus and we should get it. The alternate arrangement they gave us had so much water leakage that we couldn’t sleep the entire night as our rooms were flooded and we were left with no choice, but to start this protest,” one of the students said.
Another student said that the problem of lesser number of people opting for hostel could be resolved by offering the facility to girl students as well. “They do not provide any accommodation to girl students who have to fend for themselves. We know that it is mentioned in the prospectus that the institute does not provide hostels to girls. But if the college is facing occupancy issue, it can ask girl students whether they want hostel rooms,” he said.
When contacted, Shivkumar Maddirala, the secretary of the institute, refused to comment. “Yes, we moved a petition for injunction. The matter is sub judice and I would not like to comment on it. The court will decide now,” he said.