Students’ Complaint ‘misdirected’, Says Allahabad University VC Amid Protest Over Fee Hike

Amid the ongoing protest by students against fee hike, Allahabad University Vice Chancellor Sangita Srivastava on Wednesday said their complaint was “misdirected” and promised to waive off the entire fee of those hailing from poor background and orphaned during Covid. The students have been protesting against an alleged 400-times fee hike at the university. A student protesting the fee hike also attempted self-immolation on Monday but the act was foiled by the police deployed on the spot.

Srivastava’s message shared on the university’s official Twitter handle said the fee per student annually for the past several decades was Rs 975 which comes to Rs 81 per month. The university fee has been enhanced to Rs 4,151 per year — Rs 333 per month, she said. The process has gone through rigorous deliberation and decision making at several levels — the Finance Committee, Academic Council and Executive Council — states the message.

“What is being spread is that there is a 400-times increase which is not correct. The 30-40 students who have chosen to disrupt the campus by falsehood are trying to ruin the academic environment of Allahabad University. The complaint of the students is misdirected,” the message read. It further states, “Those who are so poor and are orphaned in Covid, I am giving my word, the university shall waive the entire fee for them.” Some protesting students claimed that the district administration is threatening to run bulldozer over their houses to end their agitation.

Akhilesh Yadav, vice-president of the varsity’s student union, told reporters, “The district administration is threatening to demolish (our) houses by sending a team of Prayagraj Development Authority (PDA) to end the movement.”

Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha leader Ajay Yadav Samrat said, “Today is the 16th day of the agitation against the fee hike. The university administration is constantly threatening to cancel our degrees. “At the same time, PDA team is being sent to the homes of students, and family members are being asked to call back the protesting students, otherwise our houses will be demolished.”

He said, “The police is threatening the agitating students to end their stir, and telling them that they will be sent to jail under the Gangster Act. Hurt by these things, I and four other comrades, leading this movement, are going to sit on hunger strike from today.”

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