ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Democratise the University!

The use of police violence on demonstrating students undercuts the essence of the university.

Throughout the past few weeks two different university campuses - Himachal Pradesh University (HPU), Shimla, and Jadavpur University (JU), Kolkata - have witnessed sustained student protests. Students at HPU were protesting against hikes in tuition fees, in some cases more than 100%, by holding demonstrations inside the campus as well as boycotting classes. The administration refused to reconsider this sudden and sharp fee hike and as the protests intensifi ed, the university administration took the help of the police to disperse the protesting students. Reports and visuals available show distressing use of force, with several students being seriously injured.

The students at JU were demanding a reconstituted internal complaints committee, in accordance with the Supreme Court guidelines on sexual harassment, to investigate complaints of molestation of a female student by other students on campus. The university administration's inability to reach any agreement with the agitating students led to escalation of protests where some students "gheraoed" the vice chancellor (VC) and other offi cials. Predictably, it was again the police who were called in by the university to "rescue" the VC. Shockingly, it seems unidentifi ed men entered the campus along with the police and together hit the students with lathis and whatever else they could lay their hands on.

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