MUMBAI: Students of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai, on Saturday gave a call for protest against the increased surveillance and security measures, including the compulsion of Aadhaar at the campus, calling it an intrusion of privacy.
The students have also expressed concerns that the measures are being taken to clear the path for privatisation of the institute and to control the movements and activities of the students.
“TISS students should really come together and block the director’s house or office or capture his snakes else the students will be cleared off this campus as part of TISS's swachh Bharat abhiyan. The compulsion to submit adhar number, CCTV on everyone’s back, biometric, combined with extraordinary measures of indecent fee hike and withdrawal of financial support available to students from marginalized background are bound to change the face, politics, spirit of this campus in coming years. TISS is trying really hard to take care of all of us. Please do not let it. Boycott fee payment till these measures are withdrawn! University hai, SEZ nahi ki kuch bhi policy chalu kar do!,” (Sic) said Facebook post of Shefali Saini a student at the TISS.
“Biometric attendance is an institutional norm and all students are required to follow it. Students who are unable to provide their fingerprint and submit their Aadhar card will be deemed to have discontinued from the programme of study at TISS,” read a circular issued by the administration on May 25.
“The decision was taken to keep tab on scholarships received by students directly from the government,” S Parasuraman, director of the institution has said.
According to an internal survey as many as 66 per cent of the students have opposed the measures announced by the administration. The students have also written a letter in this regard.
“When the University Grants Commission issued security guidelines which included installation of CCTV cameras, biometric identification for marking attendance of students in classes and hostels, setting up police stations inside the university campus, and having a ‘Student Counselling System’ through which parents, teachers, and hostel wardens can exchange information about the ‘personal details of students, academic record, and behaviour patterns, TISS’s response was that we have already been following these guidelines! Then, this semester we received a notification for procedures to be followed for inviting guest speakers wherein students need to not just inform the administration but also the local police, Crime Branch and other government intelligence organisations,” the letter said adding that the administration should have taken students into confidence before announcing the decision.