The Hyderabad campus of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences has decided to indefinitely suspend all operations with immediate effect. The decision came in the wake of student protests over the last few days, including a hunger strike, The News Minute reported.
“The students have been denying us entry from the past one week,” TISS Acting Deputy Director Vindhya told the news website. “We had a meeting with them and said that we can’t have talks in this kind of an atmosphere. So, our Mumbai administration has suspended academic activity indefinitely. Indefinite closure has been declared and the campus will reopen once normalcy is restored.”
The students are on a hunger strike to protest against increased fees and lack of safety near the girls’ hostel. The protestors say many women face harassment near the hostel, but the college refuses to take responsibility as the hostel is not located on campus.
In a notice issued on Monday, the university said the protesting students had “continued with the blockade in spite of our repeated appeals and efforts to negotiate, thereby completely paralysing the functioning of the campus for the past five days”. The college said the protests began on July 9 when students blocked the entry of faculty members into the academic block.
“In spite of the various efforts made by the institute, the students continued their illegal, unlawful, unjustified activities and disturbances in spite of the repeated appeals of the institute,” the college said. “The institute further apprehends that the situation many deteriorate further and there are all possibilities of disturbances within the campus.”
“In view of the continued activities, disturbances, some of which are cited above, the institute has come to conscious conclusion that it is not safe, practicable and not in the interest of all students, teaching and non-teaching staff to continue its normal academic activities within the campus,” the notice added.
Rajya Sabha MP writes to Union HRD minister
Meanwhile, Rajya Sabha MP Elamaram Kareem wrote a letter to Union Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal “Nishank”, urging him to intervene into the matter. Kareem said the students’ main grievance was that the hostel fees were too high. “They allege that the college has illegally outsourced the hostel service to a private service provider without calling tender,” he added.
The MP added that the college has shifted its campus thrice in the last three years, and is currently located in the corner of a private school building with no security. “I would like you to kindly intervene in this matter and instruct the concerned authorities to address all the issues raised by the students of TISS and also to accept their charter of demands at the earliest,” he wrote.
Kareem said that the students had written him a letter, which he had attached in the mail to Pokhriyal.