Fee Hike Or No Fee Hike, The KU Way

Riyaz Ul Khaliq

SRINAGAR

University of Kashmir (KL Image: Bilal Bahadur)
University of Kashmir (KL Image: Bilal Bahadur)

Scores of Law students from a City college Saturday held protest demonstration in Press colony here against examination “fee hike” by University of Kashmir.

The students claimed that university has hiked the examination fee by over 100%.

Wearing college uniforms, the students held placards reading anti-university slogans. The students raised slogans against university authorities for formulating “anti-student” policies.

A student of the college, Faheem Altaf, told Kashmir Life, “Earlier we used to pay Rs 1150/- now the university demands Rs 2,285/- from us.” He also showed a fee receipt which corroborates with his claim.

“No student has yet deposited the fee as we are looking forward to prolonging the protests if the demands are not met,” said Hilal Sheikh of the College.

Earlier protests were held in Kashmir University campus against university’s decision to hike fee. Back then students boycotted classes for two consecutive days.

Kashmir University had at that time decided to keep the order in abeyance, however, students claim that when they downloaded the examination forms, the fee receipts showed hiked fee.

The protestors said that they are in touch with students of university and other colleges to mount pressure on university authorities to reverse the decision.

They said that officials are saying that “there is technical error”. “The last to submit forms is June 02 and the technical error persists.”

The students of university and affiliated colleges have now formed a “Co-ordination Committee” to chalk out an “effective” strategy against the fee hike.

“We have formed a co-ordination committee to mount pressure on the varsity authorities to reverse the decision,” a Law student of Kashmir University told Kashmir Life. “We want a student-favouring fee structure.”

An engineering student said, “I paid Rs 2850 as exam fee for current semester. We have been told to submit an application with HoD and our ‘extra money’ will be refunded.” In his last semester, he had paid Rs 1160 as exam fee.

However, Dean Academic Affairs Kashmir University while speaking to Kashmir Life said, “since we have kept the order in abeyance, if students still find issues with respect to their forms they should contact my office.”

Order Put in Abeyance?

Protests erupted in University of Kashmir Hazratbal campus on May 16 when engineering students found over 250% fee hike. The protests continued for two days.

“The Vice Chancellor has ordered to revoke the fee hike notification,” Prof G N Khaki, Provost KU, had told Kashmir Life on May 17, 2016 after protests turned violent and students were batoned charged in the campus. “The new comers will pay fee according to earlier norms set by varsity.”

However, the varsity officials had informed the varsity “was following” the University Grants Commission guidelines post Choice Based Credit System implementation.

After students expressed dissent against the “anti-student” move, the varsity authorities cracked down on the two boys’ hostels situated in Naseem Bagh. “All the guests were evacuated from the hostels in the late night move,” a boarder said, “the students numbered over 30 and were forced out of the University.”

The boarder wishing anonymity for obvious reasons said that the boarder-guests are allowed by the varsity themselves. “They had paid for the mess charges,” he said, “they were not staying illegally.”

When asked why students were forced out of the hostels, he said, “The officials blamed that the certain students were following an agenda thus they were forced out.”

“What is wrong in fee hike when you full you bellies in CCD and cherish Wazwan in restaurants,” students quoted the varsity officials as having told them. “When you have high end cell phones, why should you protest the fee hike?” the officials told them.

Interestingly, the University authorities have leased out space to a high-end Café Coffee Day (CCD) outlet in Naseem Bagh. Back then, students had protested against the move but to no avail.

The borders further claimed that they have asked to deposit Rs 16000 each as “advances”. “We are penalised if any paisa is subtracted from the advances,” the boarders said, “we have to keep it static so we don’t face any problem.”

The boarders said that since the protest against fee hike, no student guest is allowed to stay put in hostels. “Now, choice of warden matters,” the students said.

The students are saying that they are in dilemma. “The fee hike is same and there is no change,” they said, “there is no clarity.”

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