The students of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Guwahati campus have decided to go on an indefinite hunger strike from Monday as the authorities have not agreed to waive fees for SC, ST and OBC students from poor economic backgrounds.
The hunger strike will start from 10 am at Dighalipukhuri here.
“We are taking up the extreme step of hunger strike as we have no other choice left. Despite our repeated demands, TISS administration didn’t waive off the fees (including dining hall and hostel charges) to the socially marginalized (ST, SC and OBC’s) and economically backward students who wish to study here from June, 2018,” Kabithui Rongmei, president, Government of India-Post Matric Scholarships (GOI-PMS) Students’ Association told reporters here on Saturday.
The students of Guwahati campus along with peers from TISS Mumbai, Hyderabad and Tujlapur, have been on a lock down since February 21, to protest against the administration’s decision to withdraw financial support to SC, ST and OBC students.
TISS has four campuses in Mumbai, Hyderabad Tuljapur besides Guwahati.
“The administration can’t further delay our demands as the interview process for student’s admission will start from March 26. We want to ensure that no aspiring students abandon their opportunity to come and study in good educational institutions because of their poor economic background,” Rongmei pointed out.
He said that on March 2, the Directorate Office of TISS had issued a notification which made it clear that the fees would be waived only for the current batch of students and not the upcoming batches.
“It is apparently an utter negligence on the part of TISS administration towards the students of future batches belonging to SC/ST/OBC categories with poor economic background. This in fact contradicts the vision that the institute claims to endorse social justice,” Rongmei added.
Tikendra Rai Chelak, vice president of GOI-PMS Students’ Association said, “The vision for setting up TISS, Guwahati campus was to develop it as a world class social science institute. Its mandate was to serve the eight Northeastern states and thus 66 pc seats were reserved for students from these states.”
“Majority of these students come from a poor economic background. Without the fee waiver, the chance for these aspiring students to get admitted into the institute would remain a distant dream. In that scenario, the 66 pc reservations will be filled up by students from affluent background. We believe this will further widen the gap of social disparities,” he mentioned.