Non-NET fellowship: FTII students support 'Occupy UGC' stir

Students protesting over UGC's move to scrap non-NET fellowships on Saturday got the backing of the students of Pune's FTII, who had earlier this week called off their stir against appointments to their governing council after 139 days.

PTI| Updated: Oct 31, 2015, 22:45 PM IST

New Delhi: Students protesting over UGC's move to scrap non-NET fellowships on Saturday got the backing of the students of Pune's FTII, who had earlier this week called off their stir against appointments to their governing council after 139 days.

And, as the 'Occupy UGC' campaign entered the 11th day today, the protesting students slammed the chairman of the commission, Ved Prakash, after he failed today to make it to an event at Jamia Millia Islamia where he was supposed to be one of the speakers. The protesting students alleged that it was an act of "escapism" by him.

Amidst protests by the students against the scrapping of the non-NET fellowship, the government had earlier this week appointed a five-member panel to review the research grants offered by UGC, which, meanwhile, has been asked to continue all existing grants.

The students, however, have been continuing their protests as they rejected the government's statement as eyewash and are demanding that the review criterion be changed and the fellowship amount increased.

Coming out in support of these students, the FTII students' association said in a statement, "The events that have transpired right from the scrapping of the fellowship programme to the police brutality used against the students protesting the decision has stunned and disturbed (us)."

They further made an allegation of a "systemic assault on the education system by the incumbent government".

On the other hand, after Prakash missed the event at Jamia Millia, the protesting students claimed that the UGC chairman had cancelled his visit to avoid facing students' questions.

"The UGC chairman cancelled his visit in fear of facing students questions as several students were ready to question him on UGC's policy of fund cut and cancellation of fellowship based on economic and merit criterion," a statement from All India Student's Association (AISA) said.

The UGC Chairman, however, was not available for comments despite repeated attempts to contact him.

Unable to force the government to scrap the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as FTII chairman, agitating students on October 28 unilaterally withdrew their 139-day strike but vowed to continue protests.