Why are the Premier University Campuses Buzzing for all the other Reasons?

Saturday, 15 August 2020


Why are the Premier University Campuses Buzzing for all the other Reasons?

G Plus News | November 23, 2019 16:02 hrs

Starting from JNU, IIT-G to BHU students are in conflict with the management and have erupted in protests
Premier university campuses across the country are buzzing for all the wrong reasons.

With JNU protests occupying the centre stage in New Delhi, far away from the power centre, students of IIT-Guwahati are up in arms against the university administration for alleged financial malpractices in running the prestigious institution.

The strong arm tactics of the Director’s office of the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati (IIT-G) to douse the raging protest is further fuelling the fire and appears to heading towards a big tussle with students now threatening to go the court for reinstatement of one of their professors who has been allegedly terminated for “whistle blowing” corruption cases of the higher officials of the institution.

It may be a mere coincidence that two of India’s premier institutions have erupted in student protest for more or less the same reason which involves finance. Look at the contrast: on the one hand, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students are protesting against a hike in their hostel fees and the university administration trying to put a lid on independent movement of students. On the other hand, in IIT-G students are raising their voices against alleged corruption and money swindling by the higher authorities.

Protests started in IIT Guwahati after the alleged termination of Associate Professor Dr. Brijesh Kumar Rai of the Department of Electronics & Electrical Engineering. According to reports, Rai had alleged that the institution is practicing corruption consequent to which false charges were levelled against him. In a YouTube video uploaded by a research student at IIT-G, Rai alleged that there has been corruption in various cases and also in terms of staff selection.

“In one year, about 50 people were illegally employed,” he alleged in the video. The students also alleged that the Director of the institution, TG Sitharam, recently spent Rs 40 lakhs on his bungalow and office which includes exorbitantly expensive items such as Rs 1.8 lakhs for a table.

In October, an FIR was lodged at North Guwahati police station against the director and deans of the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati for allegedly misusing funds of the students.

As per the FIR filed by research scholar Vikrant Singh, the director and deans of IITG had held a meeting at a five star hotel in August and allegedly paid the bills from college funds.

In midst of all this, another disturbing news poured in from the institution that a student from Japan was found dead inside a hostel room of the Indian Institute of Technology-Guwahati (IIT-Guwahati) on Thursday evening.

According to reports, the Japanese national, identified as Kota Onoda, was a student of Gifu University in Japan, and was doing an internship at IIT-Guwahati.

He was found dead inside a room of his hostel. The Japanese student was doing an internship in the department of Bio-Sciences and Bio-Engineering in IIT-Guwahati as part of a student exchange program. His internship was scheduled to end on November 30 this year.

Coming back to students protest, another institute of repute - Banaras Hindu University (BHU) - rocked with protests for nearly a week over the issue of the appointment of a Muslim professor in Banaras Hindu University's Sanskrit department.

The issue became completely political with a number of senior politicians defending the university’s move. Sanskrit "has vastness," Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said on Thursday.

"The Constitution of our country has vastness. Any teacher can teach Sanskrit in a university," she said. The protesters, on the other hand, say only a Hindu can do so.

So if we contextualize the whole scenario, it appears that India’s student fraternity is on a constant tussle with their mentors be it for political or financial reasons.

“So many instances of students’ protests across country do not augur well for the country. Restlessness of students in premier institutions and venting out their frustrations in the open are indications of deep rooted resentment which can take a dangerous shape anytime,” an educationist said.

The past few years have seen considerable turmoil in the life of some of the largest and most reputed universities in India. The policy makers’ constant pressure to tinker with the autonomy of a few of these universities is resulting in full blown conflict between the management and students.

And as it appears now, slowly but steadily, things are getting out of the university campus with alarming frequency and the political class is jumping into the ring only to complicate the already vexed problem even further. 

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