Shimla: The Students Federation of India activists in the Himachal Pradesh University on Tuesday decided to end their 154-day old chain hunger strike after the University authorities accepted majority of their demands. The SFI had given a 46 point demand charter to the Vice Chancellor after organising a mega rally of students in the campus today, said Noval Thakur, president of the students’ body. “The authorities came under pressure after we decided to beef up up our struggle and our leaders were to sit on a fast unto death from Wednesday”, he said.
The University which is to undergo an assessment by the NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council of UGC) after a few days is also under pressure to end this prolonged strike that had also acquired an adequate legitimacy by the people in general, said Vivek Rana, SFI State President. From an “A” category the Himachal University has come down to “B” ratings from past sometime, he said. It could further go down this time if the University does not end anti-student policies like the fee hike, RUSA or choice based credit system of education, he added.
The University on Tuesday agreed to roll back the decision of suspension of seven top leaders of the students’ body. It has been decided to take the student organisations into confidence if the RUSA system is going to be implemented and the university authorities would make the high powered committee report, that was set up by the university on the issue of massive fee hike, to be public soon after the Court’s decision, said the SFI secretary Suresh Sarwal.
The University has not agreed on the demand of direct elections of the student central association, which have been banned by the Virbhadra Singh government, citing campus violence as the reason. The SFI and RSS supported ABVP are in favour of direct student elections but the NSUI, that has never won a single seat in the HPU campus in past four and half decades, has always opposed it.
The SFI celebrated with the victory rally in the campus in the afternoon and exposed the Congress and BJP leaders in their speeches. They condemned the State’s Chief Minister who is himself facing serious corruption charges for interfering in the university affairs and bringing the academic levels in the campus to an all time low. They also questioned the recent recruitments in various teaching departments on mere political considerations and the killing of merit and academic excellence.
KY Singh is a political observer and a senior journalist with an interest in a diverse set of issues related to Himachal Pradesh and other mountain states. He lives in Shimla.