Students of IIT-Madras went on a silent march on Thursday to protest the fee hike introduced by the government recently.

The demonstration, they said, was to voice their protest against to the decision to hike undergraduate fees by 80 per cent and the academic fees of research scholars by 100 per cent this year

“They have already deducted the fees from our stipend this year. If they have increased our fees, they should increase our stipend too,” said a research scholar.

The increasing number of fee hikes was a move to privatise the IITs, said students.

In an earlier panel discussion, Rahul Siddharthan, faculty member of The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, had said the fee hike could be an attempt to regularise fee structures, and not necessarily a move to privatise the Centrally-funded institutes.

Jimraj Milton, a lawyer, said the protest was valid because the fee hike — by Rs. 40,000 now — could be much more in the future. Venkatesh Athreya, former head of department of economics, Bharathidasan University, said the IITs must remain accessible to the poor. Operational costs of premier institutes could never be met by student fees, he said.

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