Express News ServiceProtests at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) continued for the 13th day on Monday with students from other colleges in the city joining in. Despite a rift within the students’ union, which had called for the protest on February 20, around 50 students gathered in the campus and raised slogans. A section of students had called for a “TISS Chalo” march, which saw many students from various parts of Mumbai taking part. Akshay Gujar, a post-graduate student at the University of Mumbai, said, “Basic rights are being denied by the university. The administration is cutting funds for SC/ST and OBC students. The government is privatising the institutions. They don’t want to provide funds for students under the reserved category. We fear that they might cut all funds for the reserved category in the future, and we are protesting against that.”
The students carried placards which read, “Education is a right”, “Stop withdrawal of aid” and “Chalo TISS”, among several others highlighting the fee hike. A student from IIT-Bombay said, “Last year, students faced a massive fee hike at our institute. We had a massive movement in the IIT campus similar to this one. We are here to express our solidarity in support of the protest.” The strike was launched by the students’ union on February 20 to protest the institute’s decision to withdraw aid to SC and ST students eligible for the Government of India’s Post-Matric Scholarship (GOI-PMS) scheme. The institute and a section of students, however, maintained that the strike had been called off after the administration agreed to most of the protesters’ demands. “The administration has now agreed to waive off full fees of SC and ST students admitted in 2016-18 and 2017-19. This was after a series of discussions with the students’ union. The protest has been called off now,” said P K Shajahan, dean of student affairs .
Sneha Magar, vice-president of the students’ union, said, “The ‘Chalo TISS’ movement is not called by the students’ union. Most of our earlier demands have been met by the administration, and the strike has been called off. The rest of our demands will be discussed in a different way…”.
Ankush Bandyopadhyay is a student of NSoJ and is an intern with The Indian Express, Mumbai