The Jawaharlal Nehru University's (JNU) executive committee on Wednesday, November 13, rolled back the proposed hostel fee hike amid a massive protest by students over the issue. The JNU body has now proposed a scheme for economic assistance to students from Economically Weaker Sections (EWS). The move comes as a huge success for the agitating students who have been on strike for over 15 days now.
Taking to Twitter, R Subrahmanyam, Union Education Secretary, tweeted: "Executive Committee announces major rollback in the hostel fee and other stipulations. Also proposes a scheme for economic assistance to the EWS students. Time to get back to classes."
The move comes after the executive committee of the university meet to discuss the hostel draft manual, which has been at the heart of the controversy that brought the varsity to boil. In the proposed hostel draft manual, the JNU administration had massively hiked the hostel, mess and security fee by a reported 400 per cent. It had also limited the hostel timings.
On Monday, thousands of JNU students clashed with the police as their protest over the steep fee hike escalated, leaving Union Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' confined for over five hours at the venue of the university's convocation.
JNU on the boil
The students, agitating against fee hike and other changes proposed in the hostel manual, laid virtual siege to the Convention Centre where the JNU Executive Council was to meet, forcing the administration to change the venue to some undisclosed place.
The JNU Students Union (JNUSU) had announced on Tuesday that it will be holding a protest outside the university campus during the Executive Council meeting on Wednesday against the draft hostel manual. Though many claim that the new venue of the meeting was not disclosed to any member of the EC, there are reports that the new venue was the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) house, that lies outside the campus.
According to an email, purportedly sent by the JNU Registrar and whose screenshot was being circulated on social media by the JNUSU vice-president Saket Moon, the Executive Council members were asked to reach the new venue as soon as possible.
"As you have already been informed telephonically/through JNU security that in case of any problems in conducting EC meeting at Convention centre, the venue may be changed," the email said.
The students have also accused the varsity administration of deploying police force in the campus, both in uniform and in civilian clothes. They also accused the administration of locking down the gates of the university, and turning it into a "jail".
"JNU admin locked JNU gates and turned JNU into a jail," former president of JNUSU, N Sai Balaji told media while sharing pictures of security guards locking the gates of the university. "At a time when the admin wants to push us out of our hostels we have taken up residence inside the Pink Palace," Balaji appealed to students of JNU.
"The JNUSU appeals all students to come to the Pink Palace to reclaim it from the admin, which has illegally made it a den of iniquities and oppression," he added.
The students' union has been on a strike against the draft hostel manual, approved by the Inter-Hall administration, which it claims has provisions for hostel fee hike, dress code and curfew timings. The agitating students demanded a meeting with the vice-chancellor on the issue of draft hostel manual which was finalised on October 28.