The #OccupyUGC protest enters its 9th Day today. Started in opposition to the University Grant Commission’s circular scrapping non-NET scholarships, the movement by student has created ripples across India and students are coming out in support in other cities as well.
The students have been agitating for last few days in Delhi and other parts of the country for reinstating the Non-NET Scholarships in central universities. The assurances from the HRD ministry have only raised further concerns about the government’s intent of eventually reducing the total number of scholarships in the name of ‘rationalising’ by linking them to newer criteria. This move is understandably being seen a part of the larger process of shrinking state expenditure in the higher education to suit the interests of private universities and further the agenda of WTO in education.
Non-NET scholarships have attracted a substantial number of students from the underprivileged social and economic backgrounds in the recent years to continue higher studies and any step reversing this process would pose irreversible harm to their careers as well as the country’s future. While the top political leadership claims to leverage India’s demographic dividend at every available opportunity, this move to severely curtail the opportunities of higher education exposes its betrayal.
Here is the story so far:
October 20th: UGC announced its decision to stop non-NET scholarship
On the afternoon of 21st October, students from several universities in Delhi began ‘Occupying’ the Delhi premises of the head-office of University Grants Commission (UGC),which is a government mandated body under the Ministry of Human Resources that is supposed to govern the functioning of universities across the country.
Protests continued throughout the night of 21st
Students burnt effigy of Ved Prakash, Chairman of UGC
JNU Students’ Union’s letter to UGC
23rd October: Massive crackdown on protesting students. The Delhi police brought in the CRPF and around 400-500 of them roughed up over 100 protesters and dragged them into their vehicles and has brought them to Bhalswa Dairy police station in the outskirts of Delhi.
Day3 midnight of 22nd – The Strike is on, #OccupyUGC
October 25th solidarity protests by students from AMU and Mumbai
Updates from 26th October Protest Site
ON 27th morning – Protest site
27th October Police resorted to lathi charge
Thousands – teachers, students and friends gather outside and get back the 33 protestors from Police Detention in Kamla Market Police Station; they marched back to the UGC office and they continue their struggle. #OccupyUGC
October 28: students re-occupied UGC in even larger numbers. Teachers from JNU, DU and Ambedkar UNiversity also joined them for a solidarity meeting in the evening:
#OccupyUGC continues. These are photos from late night of October 28. Students brave cold night and sit together in solidarity, in front of the UGC building in New Delhi.