NEW DELHI: Protesting students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) clashed with the Delhi Police on Monday as thousands of them hit the streets against the steep fee hike and imposition of new rules, leaving Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ stuck at the university’s convocation venue for over six hours.
Students started gathering outside the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE), the venue for the JNU’s convocation, which was attended by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu. While Naidu left shortly before the protest began, Nishank lingered on and got stranded. A special task force was later deployed to clear the road for Nishank’s vehicle to exit.
The protest escalated as the day progressed with angry crowds of students trying to push through a wall of anti-riot police personnel to approach the venue. Several blockades put up by the police were also broken by the protesting students, who started their march towards the AICTE, about 3 km away from the university’s south Delhi campus, around 11.30 am.
While Nishank met the students and said he would try to address their demands quickly, the protestors insisted on meeting the V-C as well. “Due to the 999% fee hike, the university today faces an unprecedented crisis,” the JNU Students Union claimed.
Demand to sack V-C, rollback fee hike
The protesting students had three demands: reconvene hostel rules meeting in the presence of student reps and revoke all regressive fiats pertaining to clothing and timings; rollback the 999% fee hike from `2,740 to `30,100 annually; and sack Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar