In a shocking development, UNION HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal was locked inside the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) college premises for around 3 hours on Monday, after the campus main gate was blocked by JNU students protesting against a hike in hostel fee. It was understood that Pokhriyal had been invited as chief guest for JNU’s third convocation ceremony.
Alleging that the Vice-Chancellor refused to meet them, the students, chaired by the JNU Students’ Union had raised the slogan: ‘No convocation without affordable education.’ The actual point of protest is the introduction of service charges for maintenance, mess workers, cook and sanitation which were by far not included in the hostel fee.
Under the recent hostel charges, students will have to pay an approximate service charge of Rs 1,700 per month and the rent for a single room has been hiked from Rs 20 per month to Rs 600 per month. As far as double-sharing room is concerned, the rent has increased from Rs 10 per month to Rs 300 per month.
Moreover, the students will also have to pay utility charges from their pockets, which they did not have to pay so far. The JNU Executive Council is supposed to give the last decision to the new hostel charges on November 13.
At the time of protest outside the venue, which started shortly before afternoon, police tried several attempts to move students away from the gate. As many as 500 students gathered together at the West Gate of the university campus, closest to AICTE, in the morning and they learnt that the gate was barricaded.
“There were five layers of barricades, so we re-routed and moved towards the main North gate. The barricading there was light — they had either just started putting them up or had kept it light to allow some movement. We broke through that and marched towards the venue,” said Paro Tomar, a Master’s student.
JNU students have also held their dean captive to have demands met. Dr Vandana Mishra, who is Associate Dean of Students at JNU was illegally held captive by JNU students which is not acceptable by any means.
She was not allowed to even leave the SIS building. The protests are over the students’ hostel manual. Even as Dr Vandana Mishra’s health deteriorates, the students don’t seem to let her leave.