PG students demand opening of department libraries

The Students Federation of India (SFI) has warned Calicut University Vice-Chancellor M. Abdul Salam against his ‘autocratic’ style of functioning.

The SFI said that it would spearhead a student struggle against the Vice-Chancellor by occupying different department libraries on the university campus.

The closure of department libraries to deal with the ongoing agitation of research scholars, who have been staging a ‘24x7 reading protest’ in the campus central library, has evoked criticism from different corners. The postgraduate students on the campus indicated that they would launch an agitation if the department libraries were not opened soon.

“We will have to resort to a wider struggle by capturing the department libraries on the campus if the Vice-Chancellor continued his autocratic rule,” said T.P. Bineesh, SFI State secretary, while addressing the research scholars who occupied the central library on Saturday. The research scholars on the campus are on strike for the past several days under the banner of the All Kerala Research Scholars’ Association (AKRSA), demanding restoration of their fellowships and withdrawal of the punching system introduced by the university.

The functioning of the campus central library has gone haywire since the researchers launched a round-the-clock reading protest five days ago. The 30-odd library staff have no work but to merely watch the researchers read. The functioning of the library has come to a standstill with the Vice-Chancellor ordering not to issue any books and periodicals.

The researchers resorted to several unique means of protest, including polishing the shoes of the visitors to the campus and opening a food court titled ‘Gaveshaka Thattukada.’

Addressing them on Saturday, writer Sara Joseph criticised the authorities for denying academic freedom for the research scholars. She warned that she would join the protest if the university authorities continued to turn a blind eye on the agitation. “Freedom is the basic need of any research. What we see on Calicut University campus is the denial of that freedom,” she said.

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