Panjab University Fee Hike: Students Protest By Polishing Shoes

Panjab University Fee Hike: Students Protest By Polishing Shoes
Chandigarh:  A group of Panjab University students resorted to a new form of protest today by polishing shoes of fellow students and passerby as the standoff between students and University authorities refused to die down on the fee hike issue. The group of students owing allegiance to NSUI today held the protest to press their demand for rollback of the fee hike. The Chandigarh based university is witnessing various protests since the University Senate has recently approved 'the enhancement in fee structure' of various courses being taught at University Campus and at its Regional Centres.

Violent clashes between students and the police were witnessed in the University on April 12 as the week-long protests over the steep fee hike suddenly turned ugly.  The police, which brought in water cannons, batons and tear-gas to control the crowd outside the vice-chancellor's office, were targeted with stones and flower pots.

"We today tried another mode of protest against the fee hike. Students today polished shoes of other students, bystanders and passersby outside the PU Vice Chancellor's office," said Siya Minocha, PU student and member of National Students Union of India (NSUI).

She also said that the students wanted to attract the attention of PU authorities and Modi government on fee increase issue. "We wanted PU authorities to listen to us on what we have to say. It has been several days, nobody from PU talked to us," she said.

Members of NSUI have also been holding chain hunger strike against tuition fee hike, said Siya who contested Panjab University Campus Students' elections last year for the post of president.

While protesting, the students charged Rs 10 per pair of shoes for polish. "We charged Rs 10 per person during an hour long protest. If they (PU authorities) want our money then we can collect it in whatever manner we can," she said.

She also said the student organization will continue to adopt new but peaceful methods of protest against fee hike if their demands are not met.

Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Badal will hold a meeting with Panjab University Vice Chancellor Arun Kumar Grover on April 25 to discuss the issue pertaining to providing financial support. 

The state finance minister on April 17 said the Punjab government will try and help the cash strapped university which is facing a financial crisis. However, the state will take any decision regarding the financial support to PU only after the Amarinder Singh government comes out with a white paper on the state's finances, said Mr. Badal.

(With Input from PTI)

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