Hostellers stage agitation alleging that anti-student measures are being taken by the university

Student hostels in Madurai Kamaraj University here plunged into a mess on Thursday as hundreds of hostellers raised a banner of revolt against the authorities alleging anti-student measures being taken by the Vice-Chancellor.

Hundreds of postgraduate students and research scholars gathered near the Kamaraj statue on the campus and staged a demonstration condemning the increase in mess fees, admission fee, and closing down of two hostels. They demanded that the dividing system for mess bill should continue.

Urging Vice-Chancellor Kalyani Mathivanan not to go ahead with fee hike, they said that the decisions being taken would affect students from scheduled castes, schedules tribes and backward classes who are dependent on government scholarship. They also condemned the attitude of senior officials who did not call them for talks even after the agitation. The Vice-Chancellor was away in Chennai. The striking students criticised that the admission fees was hiked by Rs.1,000 while the monthly mess bill too had gone up substantially. Another point raised by students was that the university should not close down Malligai Hostel for girls and Thiruvalluvar Hostel for boys.

The students said that any move to privatise the hostels by giving them on contract to private parties would be opposed tooth and nail. They also accused the authorities of threatening the hostellers who were taking part in the protest. “Our hostels are being closed down just to accommodate those who will be joining the upcoming film institute courses, ” a research scholar in history department said.

The university officials, however, shot back at the students by saying that their agitation was unnecessary since the Vice-Chancellor had been thinking of improving the quality of food and overall amenities in hostels.

“What is being planned is an modern cooking facility with centralised kitchen, ” an official said.

As the students continued their protest till evening, Additional Superintendent of Police A. Mayilvahanan visited the spot and invited them for talks and tried to pacify them. From the university side, Registrar (in charge) K. Pichumani was present.

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