JNU students' protest against hostel fee hike, dress code turns violent

JNU protests
Police stop JNU students who were staging a protest over the hostel-fee hike and the administration's alleged 'anti-students' policy, in New Delhi, Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. Photo: Kamal Singh/PTI

New Delhi: Protests by the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students against the massive hostel fee hike and dress code took a violent turn on Monday as they clashed with the police and security personnel deployed in New Delhi.

The students marched to the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) auditorium, where Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu and Union Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' attended JNU's third convocation ceremony.

While Naidu left the premises before the protest escalated, Nishank was was stuck inside the for over six hours. He eventually left the venue at 4.15pm.

AICTE auditorium lies three kilometres from the JNU campus.

In view of the protests, security personnel placed barricades outside the north and west gates of the JNU campus as well as on the road leading to the AICTE auditorium.

JNU protests
Jawaharlal Nehru University students try to open the gates during a protest against the administration's 'anti-students' policy, in New Delhi, Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. Photo: PTI

But students broke the barricades and marched towards the venue around 11.30 am. The police used water cannons to disperse the protestors and some of them were detained.

Fee hike & 'regressive' hostel rules

The protests, which have been going on for the past week, began with the introduction of the new hostel manual. The protestors said that the fee hike, curfew timings and dress code restrictions within the manual were unacceptable.

The unwillingness of the JNU Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar to discuss the issue has agitated the students.

JNU protests
Police personnel use water cannon to disperse students of Jawaharlal Nehru University protesting against the administration's 'anti-students' policy, in New Delhi, Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. Photo: PTI

According to the Indian Express, the major issues raised by the protestors include the introduction of service charges of around Rs 1,700 per month, introduction of utility charges of electricity and water, the increase in rent for single-seater rooms from Rs 20 per month to Rs 600 per month, and increase in rent for a double-seater from Rs 10 per month to Rs 300 per month. In addition, the one-time mess security amount, was also raised from Rs 5,500 to Rs 12,000.

JNU Students' Union (JNUSU) had earlier called for the boycott of the convocation demanding a rollback of the newly introduced changes. The students' body said that the fee hike would adversely affect many students from the deprived sections. JNUSU also called the dress code and curfew timings 'regressive'.

(With inputs from PTI.)

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