November 15, 2020

Justice for LSR Student

THE Delhi state committee of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), in a statement issued on November 9, expressed dismay at the recent death of a promising young woman, who came to study in the national capital with a bundle of dreams. A second-year BA Mathematics student of LSR College was forced to end her life on November 3, 2020.

Hailing from Telangana’s Ranga Reddy district, she was a topper in the state in class 12.  She comes from a modest family background where sending a daughter for higher education in Delhi was itself a challenge. It enforced financial burden on the family so much that her parents were forced to mortgage their house to send their daughter to Delhi University.

She was selected for the prestigious INSPIRE scholarship provided by the ministry of science and technology, government of India because of her credentials and merit. But, this bright student was faced with hurdles and miseries as her own fellowship was not credited for over a year, which was due as instalment in March 2020. The pandemic was used as an excuse for non-disbursal of students’ fellowship for more than a year, while there has been no relaxation given to the students for their payments of fees, or for general sustenance otherwise.

In this particular case, the inclusive committee for education set up under the LSR Students’ Union had repeatedly brought these concerns to the notice of the administration but, they received only silence in response. Do we remember Rohith Vemula? He was denied his fellowship for months, coupled with harassment and intimidation by the government and administration combine – he was forced to end his life too. There are thousands of students in India who struggle to be in higher education. They dream, they perform excellent as students, but they receive apathy from the government and administration.

The progressive student organisations and various unions across the country have time and again placed demands concerning students’ lives and livelihood during the pandemic before the university and the state authorities. But, nothing has been done to address those. Instead, there are coercive steps taken, such as, not disbursing fellowships on time, initiating fee hikes, forcing students to leave hostels, closing down the mess, and above all, slapping the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, on students across the country.

In a country where the gross enrolment ratio of girl students into the higher educational institutions shows a pathetically skewed figure, a girl such as the LSR student, who struggled to reach Delhi with the dream for education, has been killed. The NEP 2020 further widens such gaps and in short ensures that those who do not have money, are not entitled to pursue education.

AIDWA believes that the present government ruled by the BJP not only has been criminal in its actions towards Indian students and citizens, but has eroded all principles of justice and equality. It is consistently trampling upon the lives and livelihood of poor people in the country. It is therefore important to rise up against the policies and actions of the government.

AIDWA-Delhi condemns the murder of the young girl student, and demands justice for the student and her family. All the pending scholarship amount must be disbursed to her family at once, with adequate additional compensation from the government. The fellowship of all the students must be deposited to their account immediately, and supportive measures must be taken across the country to ensure that no single student faces any hardship especially during this difficult time of pandemic.