Students of South Asian University have been protesting for last 24 days, demanding a decent stipend for economically weak students, extension for PhD students whose research was disrupted by the pandemic, a stipend parity with JRF and membership of students in the anti-sexual harassment committee.
South Asian University is an international university sponsored by the eight Member States of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. The eight countries are: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Following the protests, the SAU rusticated two students for one year, suspended one student for a semester and expelled two students.
Since October 13, students of SAU have been sitting in protest.
On Saturday, over 80 students sat on a daylong hunger strike to demand the revocation of “unilateral” action against the five students. They will start an indefinite hunger strike from Sunday, the General Body of Students of the SAU announced.
The university administration defended its actions.
“Since October 13, 2022 students were persistently involved in acts of indiscipline inconsistently with the relevant provisions of SAU Rules/Regulations/Bye-laws. They have gone through various kinds of misconducts, including gherao, manhandling of the president, making president captive in his office, occupying the space in front of the president’s and vice-president’s offices and making them dysfunctional, playing loud music continuously since November 1, 2022 and creating unpleasant noises, denying the notice of the proctor to vacate the occupied space and shift to the designated place for peaceful protest,” the administration said in a statement.
“Based on the aforesaid facts and evidences recorded in the camera, the president exercised his power under aforesaid Rule 29 to approve the expulsion, rustication and suspension orders, which were thereafter issued by the proctor,” it added.
The protesting students have decided to boycott their classes and initiate a complete form of non-cooperation from the next working day.
SAU authorities claimed that after several days of protest, the administration agreed to some demands but stated that all demands cannot be met as they have to be decided on by the university’s governing body.
The General Body of Students said that despite the four meetings with the administration, no positive results had been yielded yet.
The students alleged that, on November 1, a police van was stationed in front of the university gate, following which a detention bus was installed the next day and on Thursday the administration called the police to bring riot cops with the intention of forcefully clearing the administration floor.