The Delhi Police on Monday baton-charged students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University as they marched towards Rashtrapati Bhavan to meet President Ram Nath Kovind to discuss the recent fee hike proposal, PTI reported.

Police personnel had been deployed in heavy numbers ahead of the march. They acted against the students when they reached the cordoned-off area and tried to jump the barricades. The students have been protesting against the fee hike for nearly a month now.

The university administration said on Monday evening that it was ready to have a dialogue with the demonstrating students, but “they are not ready for it”, PTI reported.

Meanwhile, the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union president said the police attacked the protestors brutally. “Several students, including women, have been detained by police, which brutally attacked the protesters, asking us to go back to campus,” Aishe Ghosh alleged, according to The Indian Express. “We will not budge from here until our demands are met and a complete rollback in the fee is announced.”

On Sunday, the Ministry of Human Resource Development had advised the university administration to notify the students’ union and withdraw the police complaints against students as a first step to resolve the standoff, The Indian Express reported. Last month, the Delhi Police had registered a first information report against the students for allegedly vandalising the university premises.

On November 26, the high-level committee constituted by the university administration had recommended a 50% reduction in the proposed service and utility charges. The committee recommended that the utility and service charge be brought down from Rs 2,000 per month to Rs 1,000 a month for all students, and 75% reduction in these charges for those below the poverty line. It said the eligible BPL students would be charged Rs 500 in place of Rs 2,000 per month. However, the rest of the proposed revision of fees remain unchanged.

The move came even as a committee created by the Ministry of Human Resource Development was due to submit its report in the matter. The last partial fee rollback was not accepted by the students and resulted in massive protests.

The JNU administration on November 22 defended the fee hike, saying it was facing a fund deficit of Rs 45 crore. The University Grants Commission had agreed to release Rs 6.41 crore to administration to help the institution.