A wave of student protests have rocked universities across India in the recent period.
It all began with the suicide of Dalit research scholar, Rohith Vemula, 27, triggering widespread protests demanding action against central ministers Smriti Irani, Bandaru Dattatreya and UoH vice- chancellor P Appa Rao, blaming them for the suicide. More protests followed after the arrest of JNU student union leader Kanhaiya Kumar, 28, along with JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya.
And so far the protests have failed to stop. Recently, University of Hyderabad witnessed violence when V-C P Appa Rao returned, and the police in retaliation against the protesters arrested 25 students and 2 faculty members.
These incidents were seen as an ideological confrontation between Modi government and Left-wing groups, which prompted critics to say that Centre has used legal tyranny to crush dissent along with administrative power to destroy institutions.
However, in the overall tussle between the students and the state, it was ultimately the students who have become the silent sufferers.
“My family has been asking me for money, but I have not got my scholarship yet. I have not been able to send my thesis report on time because of the effect these protests have had on our classes. I am a poor person. I just want to continue with my PhD,” he told NDTV.
Another student, Surya Pratap Singh, 24, who is looking for a job, said he is worried that companies aren’t coming to the campus for placements. “This is the placement season. Someone has to think about us also. Those who have been arrested innocently need support. But why come around and ask us to boycott classes?”
Clearly, some of these examples show that students want normalcy to be restored in the campuses. And making students suffer due to confrontation because of ideologies is not the solution.