An increased number of Allahabad University students threatened “bhu samadhi” on Tuesday in response to the university’s decision to raise tuition.
Some of the protesters fell into a five-foot deep pit near the rally site, and the police had to come and pull them out. As the conflict escalated, greater force was employed afterwards. Later, saplings were planted in the crater.
Protests by students about a perceived near tripling of tuition costs have gone on for many days. Students threatened suicide in response to the fee hikes, but the university management was unyielding.
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They wrote to complain about a 300 percent increase in tuition that would make higher education unaffordable for many people.
The ABVP’s state convener for sports activity, Kartikeya Pati Tripathi, said, “Our fight is with the dictatorial vice-chancellor of Allahabad University since their decision (the fee hike) is destroying the image of the central and state governments.”
He pleaded on the government to reverse the fee increase and handle the problem independently.
On Saturday night, students at the university organised a torchlight parade throughout the Arts department. Many of the protesting students stepped out onto the street after turning on the lights on their smartphones.
They also held a “Trayodashi” ceremony (13th day rites after a person’s death) on the porch of the AU V-office C’s for vice-chancellor Sangita Srivastava, effectively taking over the university.
Costs for first-year students at Allahabad University have gone up from $975 to $4,151 since 2005. (by 300 per cent). For the previous 16 days, students have organised demonstrations demanding that the fee hike be rescinded.
“the old price structure would remain valid for the old students,” said Allahabad University spokeswoman Jaya Kapoor, “while the additional charge will be applicable to students who acquire admission in the under-graduate studies.”