NEW DELHI : New Delhi: Hundreds of students of the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) staged a massive protest and clashed with police in New Delhi against a set of proposed rules ranging from a 300% hostel fee hike to dress code and restriction of their movement in the campus.

Students and police clashed Monday after the former refused to disperse from the All Indian Council of Technical Education (AICTE) headquarters, the venue where the JNU convocation was taking place. Following which the police used water cannons and authorities rushed in paramilitary forces to the spot. Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu and Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal were attending the convocation.

“The hostel fee including our food charges is proposed to be hiked 300% - from between less than 2,500 to around 7,000 per month. Collectively, the university is planning to charge an all inclusive 60,000 per semester per students from less than 10,000 at the moment," said Lata Kumari, a protesting student of JNU. “The JNU has always promoted quality and poor talented students with almost nil support system get good education here. They want to change the culture of the varsity," said Kumari, a Ph.D student.

Pokhriyal, who stayed inside the convocation venue for almost six hours, due to the protests said in a tweet later that he spoke to few students and have assured them that their issue will be addressed in a varsity meeting later this week.

Students said the proposed hostel rules have underlined that any violation or protest in the hostel may lead to expulsion, denial of degrees, and invite other penalties. The proposed rules restrict entry into hostel at 11.30 pm and ask each resident to inform the warden well in advance in case they stay out at night.

“They want to close the library by midnight whereas earlier it was functional 24x7. They wish to restrict the movement of students to some portions of the campus, including the Parthasarathy Rock because university administration believes it’s a place where ‘immoral activity’ happens. JNU has always been a free-flowing place with no restriction on movement. Anyone who has visited the campus know that peer learning is a huge plus of the campus and students study time anywhere anytime has no bar," said another student who declined to be identified.

Police and JNU students at the AICTE headquarters in New Delhi (Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint)
Police and JNU students at the AICTE headquarters in New Delhi (Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint)

Students were protesting inside the campus for days now over the proposed restrictions and wanted to speak to the vice-chancellor. But the VC has not addressed their concerns as yet and instead has been talking that students have turned unruly and kept some deans under captivity for hours earlier.

“We want the VC to speak to us and cancel the proposed rules," Kumari said. “What’s happening in JNU over last few years is pathetic. While the administration looks adamant on changing the JNU ethos, the students have become violent too. The fee hike and hostel rule plans are a new trigger and impacting education delivery," said a professor, also declining to be named.

“Dr. Vandana Mishra, Associate Dean of Students being kept in illegal captivity by some JNU students since morning. She is still confined in her class room...This is shameful and unbecoming of students," JNU vice chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar had tweeted on 8 November.

Some provosts have resigned from their hostel responsibilities in the last few days over the proposed manual under pressure from the students. JNU has been facing a constant conflict between students and administration over their political ideology, punishment on students and other academic and administrative issues.

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