Hyderabad: The storm kicked up at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) over exorbitant hike in hostel fees doesn’t seem to die down anytime soon. The Students’ Action Committee (SAC) moved the High Court to challenge the management’s unilateral decision to suspend classes abruptly sine die. On the other hand, the indefinite fast by four students entered sixth day on Wednesday.
The Students Action Committee, a student body formed during campus protests in December 2018 against some of the administration’s decisions, has filed a writ petition with the Telangana High Court.
One of the protesting student who is pursuing MA in Women Studies said: “Four students are continuing with the hunger strike and the SAC has also moved the High Court questioning the validity of the notice issued by management suspending classes.”
Another protestor Prabhakaran AK wrote on Facebook: “Be ready ….I am fighting back the Casteism Unleashed against the students’ protests. I am not calling off the hunger strike, I am continuing it.”
It is extremely painful to sit on the hunger strike, but what is more painful is my friends who stood for the cause of GOI-PMS students being called casteist just because of their upper-caste social location,” his post added.
The TISS, Hyderabad off-campus, had suspended academic activities from Monday till further orders issued following protest by students over issues relating to scholarship and hostel tariff.
A notice by the Acting Registrar, posted on the institute’s website, asked all the students to vacate the campus.
According to TISS, the protesting students have continued with their blockade (of faculty and others) in spite of repeated appeals and efforts to negotiate, thereby completely paralysing the functioning of the campus for the past five days.
“In spite of the various efforts made by the Institute, the students continued their illegal, unlawful, unjustified activities and disturbances in spite of the repeated appeals of the Institute since July 8, 2019,” the statement from TISS management read.
Protests rocked the campus since July 7 against high hostel fees, and demanding payment of hostel dues in installments for Government of India-Post Matric Scholarship (GoI-PMS) students, transparency in conducting tender process for the new campus, the reinstatement of the Office of Hostel Management to address students’ grievance as well as concerns about the safety of students.
Meanwhile, when the administration did not resolve the students’ grievances, few students took to hunger strike to meet their demands. Students of other universities including TISS, Mumbai have expressed solidarity with the protesting students.