Student unrest over fee hike hits Visva Bharati

July 23rd, 2010 - 9:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, July 23 (IANS) Students of Visva Bharati, the university set up by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, have been on an indefinite strike since the past six days protesting a hike in tuition fees. The varsity authorities Friday held talks with students’ representatives but failed to break the impasse.
The authorities Friday morning convened a meeting with the heads of different departments and representatives of students, but no fruitful result was yielded.

Amitava Chowdhury, spokesperson of Visva Bharati, said: “We have no alternative but to increase tuition fees. We are trying to make the students understand the problem. We think the students will understand and help us restore normalcy soon.”

Earlier, different students’ unions of the university opposed the decision to increase tuition fees after the University Grants Commission (UGC) curtailed funds to Visva Bharati.

The students’ union called an indefinite strike and held a demonstration in front of the varsity’s central office. But the strike was called off after both the authorities and the students’ leaders decided to find a solution through discussion.

The situation turned violent after police cane charged the agitating students on instructions of the Visva Bharati authorities July 17 night.

Following the incident, classes were suspended and administrative activities in the university came to a halt after the students again called an indefinite strike, said a senior university official.

The students burnt effigies of the Vice-Chancellor Rajat Kanta Ray and Registrar Moni Mukut Moitra inside the university campus.

Chinmoy Hazra, leader of a students’ union, said: “Unless the university authorities reconsider the decision of increasing tuition fees, we will not call off our strike.”

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