Students of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay have released an official statement opposing the invitation sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The invitation was sent to PM Modi to attend the convocation ceremony as a guest of honour.
"The invitation to Mr Narendra Modi, prime minister of India, as a guest of honour in this year's convocation, has raised concern among several students which we would like to share with the larger body of students, academicians and people in general," the statement read.
The students have questioned the contribution of the ruling government in the field of higher education and other important social issues that affect the social harmony and fundamental rights of the Indian population. It also added that the motive behind the invitation was a matter of concern for the IIT students.
The students said that they will not carry out protests or stop the Prime Minister from entering the campus. However, they do have certain questions that they wanted to raise to PM Modi.
The statement said that there are a lot of issues which affect even the privileged students from the IITs. The students said that such issues must be raised even if the authorities chose not to address them.
The statement further questioned the "abysmally low" expenditure by the government on the education sector while also questioning the higher education policy of the Narendra Modi-led government.
It said that the budget for higher education set by the current ruling government was almost negligible when compared to other countries. The students have even backed their comments with a graph on the Union government's budgetary spending on education.
The statement also questioned the Ministry of Human Resource Development's General Financial Rules (GFR) which will soon be implemented in central universities.
"Already the General Financial Rules (GFR) of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and the University Grants Commission (UGC) are about to be implemented in the central universities. If these rules are implemented a substantial expenditure of the central universities will have to be raised from fees paid by students. This will automatically lead to a fee hike," the statement further added.
The statement also raised the issue of rising unemployment in the country and stated that the government has managed to create very few jobs over the last few years. It quoted a quarterly industrial survey conducted by the Labour Bureau under the Labour Ministry. It suggested that the speed of employment generation saw a six-year low in 2015, when only 135,000 new jobs were created as compared to 421,000 jobs in 2014 and 419,000 in 2013.
The IIT-B students also condemned all the hate crimes that have been happening across the country in the name of religion, caste, ethnicity and race. It said that the ruling government has managed to defend or stay silent on most such incidents.
They have also questioned the atrocities committed against Dalits and Muslims and asked how beef has become such an important issue that people are being killed for it.
And finally, the statement released by the student questioned the Prime Minister's silence on all these issues. The students feel that as the Prime Minister of the country, Modi should condemn all the hate crimes supported and commited by the members of his party.