As the protests by JNU students over hostel fee hike intensified Monday, Union Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal was stuck inside the AICTE auditorium for over three hours, forcing him to cancel two events later in the day.
Hundreds of students protested outside the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) auditorium today where Pokhriyal and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu were chief guests at the third convocation ceremony of JNU. The auditorium is around 3 km away from JNU.
“He is inside. But the situation has been handled. The minister has spoken to JNUSU president and assured their demands will be addressed,” a senior HRD Ministry official had said.
The minster left the AICTE premises around 4:15 PM and had to cancel two cancel two events scheduled at the Shastri Bhawan after the convocation.
The ministry of HRD also tweeted later, saying that Pokhriyal held “positive talks” with the protesting JNU students inside the AICTE premises and listened to their problems. “The Union Minister has assured the students that their problems will soon be resolved,” the official handle of the ministry said in a tweet.
Earlier, Naidu addressed the convocation ceremony at the auditorium.
The gates of the auditorium were initially locked and the security personnel were stationed in and outside the premises in wake of the protests that started in the morning.
An officer said that barricades were placed outside the north and west gates of the JNU campus, as well as on the route between the AICTE auditorium and the JNU at Baba Balaknath Marg, near the traffic signal, underneath the flyover and near the venue.
But students broke these blockades and marched towards the venue around 11.30 am. The police had to use water cannons to disperse the protesters and some of them were detained.
The protests by JNU students over hostel fee hike escalated as students and police clashed outside the AICTE auditorium in Vasant Kunj. Police had to use water cannons to disperse the students and extra force was also deployed. The students also broke barricades and raised slogans while holding placards.