SAU students on Hunger strike; varsity defends its decision against rusticated students

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ABHAY
ABHAY ANAND
Manager Editorial
Updated on Nov 7, 2022 17:28 IST

SAU rusticated five students for misconduct, thus prompting students to intensify their agitation.

The rustication of five students of South Asian University (SAU) has made the student community furious against the university administration. The students are demanding to revoke the order and an increase in the stipend.

The students of SAU have started an indefinite hunger strike from Sunday against the order. The students of the university have been demanding an increase in stipends under the freeship scheme for over 25 days. Earlier last week, SAU rusticated five students for misconduct, thus prompting students to intensify their agitation.

On Saturday, more than 80 students went on a daylong hunger strike demanding the revocation of action against the five students, and an increase in stipend under the freeship scheme as well as their representation in key bodies dealing with student-related issues.

On the other hand, the SAU administration claimed that the students have revised their demands that had already been met and the new demands could not be addressed without the approval of the governing body.

As per a statement issued by the university: “Since October 13, 2022 students were persistently involved in acts of indiscipline inconsistently with the relevant provisions of SAU Rules/Regulations/Bye-laws. They have gone through various kinds of misconduct, including gherao, manhandling the president, making the president captive in his office, occupying the space in front of the president’s and vice-president’s offices and making them dysfunctional, playing loud music continuously since November 1, 2022, and creating unpleasant noises, denying the notice of the proctor to vacate the occupied space and shift to the designated place for peaceful protest.”

Defending its action against five students it stated that based on the aforesaid facts and evidences recorded in the camera, the president exercised his power under aforesaid Rule 29 to approve the expulsion, rustication and suspension orders, which were thereafter issued by the proctor.

The university offers scholarships on the basis of performance in the entrance test and freeships on the basis of economic criteria to around 20 percent of students. All PhD students either get Junior Research Fellowship or SAU financial support.

Recently, the university issued a notification to reduce the stipend of students getting freeships from Rs 5000 to Rs 4,000. However, following a meeting with students, the amount was restored to Rs 5,000.

Scores of students from various departments have announced and are carrying out a mass hunger strike, in solidarity with the expelled and suspended students. Meanwhile, students from various departments have decided to boycott their classes and initiate a complete form of non-cooperation from the next working day.
"In addition to the initial demands, some of the newer demands placed by the students including withdrawal of the notice of expulsion and suspension, student representation in the proctorial committee, and the resignation of the Acting President, Acting Vice President and Registrar of the university," said Keshav Swaran, a student of Sociology, sitting in the mass hunger strike.

The students claim that the insensitivity projected by the university administration towards their genuine demands has made them more resolute in carrying on with the movement until all the demands are met.

The Central Executive Committee of the Students' Federation of India (SFI) has also expressed its solidarity with the protesting students of SAU and condemns the administration for dealing with such a sensitive issue in an extremely inhumane way.

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About the Author
ABHAY ANAND
Manager Editorial

Abhay an alumnus of IIMC and Delhi University, has over a decade long experience of reporting on various beats of journalism. During his free time he prefers listening to music or play indoor and outdoor games.

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