Why are Aliah University students protesting?

Photo: Sumaiya Sayeed

Over a month, students of Aliah University in Kolkata is protesting the administrative inaction in finding a solution for the looming financial constraints, due to the standoff between stakeholders of the university and Minorities affairs and Madrasah education authorities.

Aliah University is the oldest modern educational institution in India. It was established in the year 1780 As Calcutta Madrasah by the East India Company.

In 2007, it was upgraded to Aliah University by the special initiative Of the government of West Bengal and gained considerable growth within a short period.

Mirajul Islam a 26-year-old PhD scholar says that “the clash between the top officials of this department and the Vice-Chancellor of the University has escalated. In the face of such a conflict, the official has created this stalemate by not allocating the necessary funds for the University”.

“Not a single penny has been allocated for the development of the University in the fiscal year 2020-21. The university has not been paid any more than Rs. 3 crore for the salaries and general management of the permanent staff. It would be a mistake to assume that this was done due to a lack of funds as the state government had allocated sufficient funds for Aliah University.

“112 and 115 crores for the fiscal years 2020-21 and 2021-22 respectively, less than 30 crores for salaries in FY 2021-21 and 10 crores for general management. In the financial year 2021-22, out of the salary allocation, only Rs. 3 crore has been given to the university for general operating expenses”.

Note that in the financial year 2020-21, there is a debt of about 70 crore rupees. The loan could not be repaid due to the final cooperation of the officials of the department.”

Apart from the financial issues, the students of Aliah University have released their list of demands:

  • 240-year-old Taltala campus needs to take immediate steps for its maintenance and overall development, recognizing its heritage. Facilities at Taltala Campus should be at par with other two campuses. It includes adequate library facilities, Computer Lab and other student centric facilities. Proper number of staffs and faculties Should also be provided to enhance the quality of education.
  • The budget allocated to the university must be paid to the university on time and used for the welfare of the students.
  • Universities need to visit NAAC quickly. According to U.G.C rules, visits are mandatory by 2022. If we don’t do it, we student researchers will suffer the most
  • The decision to transfer the university land will have to be withdrawn. University have previously submitted proposals to construct two hostel buildings (Boys & Girls) and Other needed infrastructures on the same land. The proposed plans of the University for the said land should be implemented first. Apart from this, arrangements have to be made to house, the students by renting a house till the proposed hostel is being constructed.
  • According to the University Act 2007, the university can recruit 293 teachers We demand that the vacancy should be filled in all departments including theology with transparent recruitment. All recruitment of the Non-teaching posts should be done at earliest. The number of sanctioned posts for Non-Teaching is Not at par with the current requirements of this University.
  • Like the rest of the university, we need to provide adequate scholarships to our students and provide adequate fellowships for higher education and research.
  • WBCS coaching should be re-introduced and internal students should be saved. NET, SET and GATE coaching should commence as early as possible. Adequate books and facilities in our libraries, adequate instruments in our labs and smart Classrooms in each department should be provided at the earliest.
  • Aliah Madrasa’s inherited property should be transferred to Alia University, such as Rokeya Bhavan should be converted into a hostel.
    9.The report of the ongoing investigation at the university should be released soon and the accused should take immediate peace measures (both the University and the MA and ME).

Some 50 to 60 students staying in the university on a daily basis. Some protesting students have arranged hostels for girls.

Recently protesting students fell ill and about a dozen of them were hospitalised.

“Alongside the Minister of MA and ME Ghulam Rabbani and principal secretary of MA and ME Ghulam Ali Ansari does not consider it necessary to intervene. Our humble appeal to every person in West Bengal to stand by our side,” Mirajul Islam told Maktoob.