A section of students at the Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS), Hyderabad campus, have moved the High Court against the institute’s decision to shut down academic activities indefinitely. The shut down was announced amid a hunger strike by these students against fee hike by the institute. Speaking to indianexpress.com, Debabrati, who is part of the protest, said, “Students have filed a writ petition against sine-die orders of the TISS administration.”
The students demand a roll-back of fee hike as well as to set up a proper mechanism for fee payment for the post-matric scholarship (PMS) holders. The scholarship is granted by the Union government to students belonging to the Scheduled Caste (SC) category and has a family income less than Rs 2.5 lakh per annum.
“We need a proper mechanism in place. Students should be allowed to pay the fee after they receive their scholarship funds. The fee comes around Rs 42,000 per semester and that is for vegetarian food and without including laundry charges. We had protested over the same issue in December last year but from this year again, the institute is demanding the fee to be paid semester-wise. These students come from low-income families and many have to take up loans to pay this fee,” Debarati said.
The institute has not only increased the fee for hostel accommodation and mess charges as it is shifting to a new building but has also asked the students to pay the entire amount of the semester in advanced, said Harendra Singh, another student.
As per the official website of the institute, the net payable fee for general category students is around Rs 87,400 for vegetarian and Rs 90,900 for non-vegetarian students. For the GOI-PMS student, the accommodation and food fee is around Rs 83,800 for vegetarian and Rs 87,300 for non-vegetarian students.
The protest has been going on since July 8. At present, four students are observing a hunger strike.
In a written statement, acting deputy director, TISS Hyderabad, off-campus, U. Vindhya, said, “Every time we made an attempt to go in, some students have been consistently trying to block our entry. During one of the visits, we were humiliated, verbally abused and asked to ‘get out’.”
The administration claims that after three days of protest, a meeting with the scholarship holding students was held with “satisfactory result” where they were promised relief of Rs 15,000 each. Students, however, alleged the relief was granted to 26 students only and that too without any merit but there is no official document from Mumbai administration on the same.