#OccupyUGC Protests in Kolkata: JU Students Call for Action
30th October: Students of Jadavpur University organized protest demonstrations in solidarity with the #OccupyUGC movement. Two rallies happened on that day from 1:30pm and 4:30pm consecutively – the former rally was called by five left-wing student organizations including AISA, SFI, USDF, Radical, and the radical feminist group Periods; the latter was called by students of independent organizations who called for a political, “bannerless” participation. Though divided, both the rallies saw participation of individual students and scholars from JU as well as Calcutta University and Viswa Bharati University. This was the third #OccupyUGC protest in Kolkata after College Street and Chingrighata (which is near the UGC office).
The first rally organized by the left-wing student organizations went through the university campus and held a demonstration in front of the Vice Chancellor’s office building. A delegation team of four students went in to meet the VC and submitted a deputation. The deputation mainly demanded an immediate withdrawal of the termination of Non-NET Fellowship along with:
1. increment of the fellowship amount,
2. extension of the Non-NET Fellowship facility to state universities,
3. and scrapping of the new economic and merit criteria for the fellowship.
The Vice Chancellor of Jadavpur University, Suranjan Das, assured the students that this year’s Non-NET fellowship applicants would receive their funds and that no circular is being imposed right now to cross out the fellowships. “The VC has told us that he is forwarding the deputation to UGC with a strong note in favour of the cause. That’s all he can do in this situation” – informed Jubi Saha who was in the delegation team. The protest ended for the day with a unanimous call for action to gather on 1st November to protest at the UGC Kolkata office and take things forward. “The plan now is to engage more students from all concerned universities and build a greater solidarity for #OccupyUGC movement beyond the university campus of Jadavpur” said Sudhanya Pal from All India Students’ Association (AISA).
The second rally organized by independent student organizations took to the street right outside Jadavpur University campus. They burned an effigy which was representative of UGC and MHRD in front of one of the main gates of JU.
Their deputation was similar to the previous deputation of the protest with an additional demand of including student representation in the working committee of UGC. The General Body Meeting at the end of the rally called for a sit-in demonstration on November 3rd at UGC Kolkata office to further the movement.
Suswagata Poria, a student from this rally, stated that “there are plenty of other problems that exist besides the repeal of the non-NET fellowship. There exists a plethora of other atrocious rules and regulations or practices that are carried out by the UGC, MHRD and various state universities. All such issues and concerns will be collected and unified on the same day.”
Follow the movement on Facebook.
Report by Aritry Das.