New Delhi,November 15, 2018: When the hostellers of Jamia Millia Islamia came back to the campus in the third week of July after their holidays, they had a few unpleasant surprises awaiting them. A new circular informed them of a 75 per cent hike (effectively going from Rs 80/day to Rs 140/day) in the hostel fee and to add to that, none of them were allotted hostels for a long time. But after Pinjra Tod, an autonomous collective of women students, along with the students of Jamia planned to stage a protest march against this on Wednesday, the hostels’ Chief Proctor had apparently agreed to roll back the fee hike and to reimburse the extra amount that the students had paid. But there has been no official communication to that effect according to reports published in m.dailyhunt.in
The protestors say that the Jamia administration, in the circulars with lists of hostel allocations, had asked students to pay Rs.140 per day for Old Hostel and Rs.144 per day for BHM Hostel and J&K hostel for November and December, while the fee earlier was Rs 80. “The students have been staying in guesthouses for the past four months. Jamia has three hostels and only the first allotment list is out until now. The existing hostellers were asked to vacate till October 24 at the beginning of the academic year on short notice and they had to stay in guest houses or find alternate housing arrangements. Also, there was a huge hike in the existing hostel fees,”says Riya*, a member of Pinjra Tod.
Things came to a head when they attended a meeting with the Chief Proctor Dr Haroon Sajjad, a Professor in the Department of Geography earlier on Wednesday, where he informed them that they would roll the fee hike back and reimburse the difference. The students still went ahead with the march, mainly to inform fellow students about what had transpired. “We’re demanding the abolishing of interviews for hostel allotments. Also, the hostellers are to have two local guardians who are married in Delhi. We want that rule also to be struck off,” says Riya.
Another major demand is that a student not be required to vacate a hostel seat till their course ends, “We demand that a hostel seat once allocated remain with the student till the course is completed and the student be not asked to vacate the same at any point of time before the completion of the course. We will not tolerate any system of arbitrary hostel allocations on the basis of the Caretaker’s or Provost’s character judgment of people,” a letter that the hostellers sent to The Dean Student Welfare read.