Education Isn’t Charity: Umar, Kanhaiya Join JNU Fee Hike Protest

Yogendra Yadav stated that JNU has raised a question that is much beyond JNU, one which is a nationwide concern.

2 min read

Video Editor: Vivek Gupta

Amid chants demanding to make education affordable for all, hundreds took to the streets in Delhi on Saturday, 23 November, in support of the students' protest against the hostel fee hike in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).

The march was joined by the likes of former JNU students and activists Umar Khalid and CPI Leader Kanhaiya Kumar and Yogendra Yadav, the founder of Swaraj Abhiyan.

The protesters gathered at the Mandi House and started marching towards the Parliament amid the presence of a huge police posse. Police personnel blocked roads leading to Connaught Place to prevent traffic snarls.

Amid a massive crowd of students groups, teachers, activists and workers of Rashtriya Janata Dal and Dalit group Bhim Army, The Quint spoke to some of the prominent voices on the fee hike issue.

‘When Students Question, They’re Lathi-charged’: Umar Khalid

With the protests continuing for more than 20 days, Umar Khalid told The Quint that there has been “no dialogue” between the students and JNU Vice Chancellor Jagadesh Kumar.

“When the JNU students come out to protest, they get lathi-charged. It’s clear that they do not want to talk to the students. Where will these students go? It shows the true face of the government.”
Umar Khalid, Ex-JNU student, Activist 

On the panel meet with JNUSU students, Khalid said, “If the committee wants to give recommendations, they should know that the students taking to the streets in large numbers almost every other day is a referendum in itself.”

A three-member panel appointed by the HRD ministry expected to recommend ways to restore normal functioning in JNU concluded its meetings on Friday and will submit its recommendations next week.

Khalid said that these recommendations are merely to delay the process and tire the students.

‘Is Money Spent on Statues Not a Waste?’ Asks Kanhaiya Kumar

Student-turned-politician Kanhaiya Kumar lashed out at the media portals and politicians defaming JNU, and talked about the perception that is being created among the masses regarding the ‘right way’ to spend the public money.

“Why is there a view among the people, especially the tax paying chunk of the population, that money is being wasted? Why is it okay when the money is spent on statues but considered as wasted when it’s spent on education?” asked Kumar.

Talking about JNU's image being tarnished in several media reports, Kumar said, “So many students from JNU have done exceptional work and are making the university proud. JNU does not exist because of me. I exist because of JNU. I am here because of JNU.”

The protesters, including JNU alumna. students and others, raised slogans asking the varsity administration to roll back the fee hike and the government to “make education affordable to all.”

It is the first time that members of civil society joined students in their protest that has been going on for week now.

(With inputs from PTI)

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