The "Occupy UGC'" movement in New Delhi over the scrapping of the non-NET fellowship to students doing MPhil or PhD took a violent turn on Friday with the police lathicharging protesting students and detaining many of them
However, a silver lining has appeared on the dark cloud hovering over the future of students with UGC authorities apparently assuring the agitating students that the issue would be reconsidered.
On Friday afternoon, a 10-member strong student delegation representing various student organisations had a meeting with UGC officials.
"The delegation talked for an hour and the UGC administration said that they will reconsider the decision and not circulate the letter to universities. It still is long way from any concrete resolution," a statement issued by All India Students' Association, student wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxistâ€“Leninist), said on Friday evening.
The students are terribly worried because the decision to scrap the fellowship leaves them with only the option to attempt the Junior Research Fellowship which has to be won through the National Eligibility Test. The non-NET fellowship was an alternative for many students. Now they are wondering where to find funds with which to support their studies following the scrapping of the non-NET fellowship.
The students have been protesting in shifts at the office of the University Grants Commission. First, about 180 students from across universities and led by the JNU students' union were on a sit-in protest. Police detained them and isolated them at the Bhalswa Dairy police station in Northwest Delhi. Interestingly, students belonging to the BJP student wing, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad , escaped detention, Times of India reported.
AISA organised another set of students to protest on Friday. These students faced a lathi charge while trying to "re-occupy" UGC. Several were injured, said the Times of India report.
The non-NET fellowship is Rs 5,000 for MPhil students and Rs.8,000 for PhD ones. But it offered some amount of funding for students who find the spiralling cost of education hard to bear and do not want to burden their parents. Hence, the protests across the board.