October 18, 2020.
TED NewsDesk, Hyderabad: Following the University of Pondicherry students, the Student Union of University of Hyderabad (UoH) has launched a relay hunger strike against the ‘discriminatory and exclusionary’ minimum qualifying criteria for admission.
The Students’ Union was protesting at the Admin Block since the morning of 17th October. On behalf of the entire student community, they have raised concerns regarding MPhil/Ph. D’s unjust criteria. After receiving no response from the authorities, the union has called for an indefinite hunger strike on 18th October, aiming to withdraw the minimum qualifying criteria.
The students allege that the administration has engaged in gross violation of reservation policy, massive seat cut, and introducing discriminatory qualifying criteria after the results were released on 16th October. The seat cut was to adopt centralized minimum mark criteria, which is 50 percent marks for General/EWS categories and 45 percent for SC/ST/OBC/PWD in the entrance exam and MPhil/Ph.D. Interviews.
The Student’s Union General Secretary Gopi Swamy, a Ph.D. scholar in social sciences, said that the University authorities have grossly violated the reservation policy by bringing up the “cut off” method.
He said that “The university administration cites UGC Regulations of 2016 as an excuse, but the regulation itself is exclusionary and discriminatory as it mandates minimum marks of 50% for general and EWS students and 45% for SC/ST/OBC students to be eligible for interviews. As a result, 64 reserved seats are already left vacant and are likely to increase after interviews”.
Many, including the Student’s Union president, have raised their concerns as the adoption of minimum qualifying marks would limit access to marginalized communities and weaker sections of the society to higher education spaces. The decision’s implementation was arbitrary as the Academic Council meeting was not called, and students’ representatives were not consulted according to the Student’s Union, which the HCU administration’s spokesperson Prof. Vinod Pavrala denied in a media interview.
“These are very general issues, which cannot be raised a day before the interview. The students should bring issues to the proper forum. If there is unfairness, they should bring to the grievance committee. The prospectus has all these points; the student bodies did not raise this anytime in the last few months.”
The University administration was earlier accused of institutional murder of Dalit Ph.D. scholar Rohith Vemula in 2016. The students alleged a pattern of Brahmanical policies on the campus that violate Dalit and Bahujan students. The student’s Union all over India has shown solidarity with the protest through various social media handles. The silence of the authorities remains questionable.