The Faculty Feminist Collective of JNU stands in solidarity with the students protesting the revocation/review of the UGC non-NET fellowship. We are outraged at the brutal police action against students gathered in a protest demonstration since yesterday, without a single convincing response from the UGC or the MHRD that could allay the anxieties of thousands of students across India that the non-NET fellowship will not be discontinued. Prevarication on this basic demand by press releases announcing the setting up of a review committee has only indicated a malafide intent.
We are deeply dismayed to hear of the reports of significant injuries to unarmed protestors and the detention of a number of students by the police until late last night.
The MHRD Minister and the UGC Chairperson should understand that the situation can only be defused by their unequivocal assurance to the academic community that there shall be no rollback or any other amendment of the eligibility of students for the UGC Non-NET Fellowship scheme for the universities that are already in receipt of these fellowships in this or future academic years.
Furthermore, it should take positive and visible steps to meet students’ demands for an enhancement of fellowship remuneration and undertake to extend this fellowship scheme to state universities as well.
Education is a right, not a privilege, and as members of the academic community, we will resist all moves to subvert this basic understanding.
We fully endorse the JNUSU’s call for a strike, and in protest at state action and in solidarity with students, we will not be taking classes today.
The students have returned to UGC. Let us assemble there to show that we stand with them.