The Jawaharlal Nehru University on Thursday defended the move to increase hostel fees, saying the institution is facing a financial deficit of more than Rs 45 crore, ANI reported. The varsity students have been protesting for the last three weeks against the university’s decision to revise the fees.

“The university has a deficit of more than Rs 45 crore because of huge electricity and water charges and the salary of contractual staff,” JNU administration said in a statement, adding that there was a misinformation campaign about the hostel fee hike.

The administration claimed it was unable to pay the salaries of 450 contractual employees as the University Grants Commission no longer allows such payments from the salary head of the budget. “The UGC has given clear instructions to JNU that all shortfalls in the non-salary expenditures should be met by using the internal receipts generated by the university,” it said. “Thus, there is no alternative for the IHA than to collect service charges from the students.”

The institute highlighted that JNU does not charge developmental fees like other universities. “Moreover, the admission fee in JNU has been minimal for decades and no revision has taken place for more than four decades,” it said.

Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union Vice President Saket Moon termed this “an attempt to threaten students”, PTI reported.

The JNU Teachers’ Association on Thursday met the Ministry of Human Resource Development appointed high-powered committee and demanded a complete rollback of the revised hostel charges.

On Monday, hundreds of students were stopped from marching towards Parliament. A day later, the Delhi Police had registered two first information reports in connection with the protest march. One FIR was registered against unknown protestors for allegedly violating prohibitory orders, obstructing police officers from discharging duties, and causing hurt. The second FIR was filed for the alleged damage caused to public property at Aurobindo Marg in South Delhi. According to the police, almost 30 police personnel and 15 students were injured during the eight-hour protest.

The protests and the police action caused an uproar in Parliament as the Opposition had accused government of using force to suppress students.

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