Days after students of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences’ Hyderabad campus began a protest to demand the institute’s intervention in helping students meet their expenses, students from the institute’s campuses in Mumbai, Tuljapur and Guwahati on Tuesday extended their support to the protest.
On July 8, more than 35 students began a protest at the Hyderabad campus demanding that the institute should bridge the gap between the scholarship amount provided by the government post-matric scholarship (GOI-PMS), and the actual living expenses of students. They also demanded that the institute should mediate between students and the private service provider to ensure lowering of the hostel tariffs for all students.
On July 16, students at the Mumbai campus decided to extend their support to the students in Hyderabad.
“We are together with the students of the Hyderabad campus in their struggle. We have decided to form a representation and raise concerns with the director, expecting her to put forward our stand on the matter. It is a similar situation here and the problem prevails in all campuses,” said a student from TISS Mumbai.
A letter written by TISS Tuljapur reads, “Followed by the protest which was successfully called off a few months ago, the administration agreed to help students with their demands. But it has been observed that students of TISS Hyderabad were facing issues with the fee and other services. The situation extended up to a level that students started leaving their courses due to the burden on them caused by fee hike. The situation demands action at the earliest.”
From July 9, the protesting students blocked the entry of the faculty and the administrative staff into the academic block and did not allow classes to continue. While the acting deputy director constituted a Facilitation Committee to attempt to resolve the students’ issues, the institute claims that the students continued the deadlock and barricaded the entrance to the institute. The institute also claims that the convenor of SC/ST/equal opportunities cell, Dr Murali Krishna, and the acting deputy director, were not allowed to interact with the aggrieved GOI-PMS students. The institute has approved Rs15,000 each for a GOI-PMS student as an interim aid. However, a meeting of the institute’s management committee with the protesting students remained inconclusive.
On July 15, the institute issued a notice suspending the academic activities of TISS Hyderabad campus with immediate effect.
A statement issued by students of TISS Guwahati campus says, “We were taken aback by the manner in which the administration has decided to approach the demands, turning a blind eye even after days of protest with no pragmatic plan for solution, forcing the students to take extreme steps even to the extent of hunger strike.”