Activists of Students’ Federation of India (SFI) in Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD) called for a protest demonstration in front of the Admin Block on the 13th of April with the following 3 demands –
- Expedite the process for a permanent campus with hostels.
- Meanwhile, provide alternate accommodation from the coming semester onwards.
- Provide provision for having meals at the IGDTUW Kaveri hostel.
The protest was called in the context of a signature campaign carried out by SFI for a week in the Kashmere Gate campus on the above three demands. The signature campaign was carried out after SFI had done a survey on the issues of accommodation, transport and placement cells in March.
The findings of the survey reveal that while the University have Babasaheb Ambedkar in name, only privileged students could afford the complete study in AUD.
The Following Quote from a Wall Poster by SFI in AUD KG Campus explains lucidly the problem and the solution to it –
In PhD Sociology the drop-out rate is 60% this year, majority being women and reserved category students. This shows that the gates of AUD are shut for poor, marginal and struggling students. The state of outstation students, who form around 30% of the campus, is even worse. To support themselves in this expensive city, they spend up to Rs. 20,000/- for PGs and apartments every month. There is one holistic solution to these problems, hostels! Hostels with subsidised food would be a starting point towards a dignified student life.
Sruti MD, Co-Convenor of the SFI Unit Organising Committee in AUD convened the protest demonstration and elaborated on the problems she faces as an outstation research scholar. SFI Activists Aritra Basu and Amit Sheokand also spoke in the event. Aritra pointed out to the linkages of the unavailability of Hostel in campus to the larger neo-liberal project of privatising the education sector. Amit questioned the AUD Administrations’s claim to build AUD as a world class university when the most basic of requirements, i.e., of hostels are not being fulfilled.
After the protest, Pritish Menon (Convenor of SFI-AUD) and Amartya Chowdhury along with other protesters met the representative of the administration to submit the hardcopy of the signature campaign they carried out. The representative promised them to take up this issue with the appropriate authorities. A meeting with the Dean of Students’ Services was also seeked in the coming day to address this pressing issue in campus.
In another news related to the #HostelsForAll Campaign, posters of SFI on the issue were seen torn in various places in the campus barely 2 hours after the protests. While it is not clear on who did the work, Aritra claimed that “Polarization is gradually becoming visible”. SFI Activist Anief Rafeek said “Its their strategy to stop us. But our slogan is inquilab and we will achieve it at any cost. Mere tearing of posters can not hinder us in anyway.”