Hundreds of students from different departments and hostels, along with members of research scholars’ associations, staged a protest at Manasagangotri here on Friday demanding better facilities for students from the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and weaker sections in terms of admissions to Ph.D programmes, scholarships and so on.

They alleged that the university was coming out with new rules and regulations that went against the interests of Dalit students. There is a “definite ploy” by authorities to undermine the prospects of students from weaker sections of society.

SC and ST students were “ignored” during admissions to Ph.D programmes in 2013 because of a rule stating that they should score at least 50 per cent marks in the entrance tests. The Ph.D fees were also hiked to Rs. 1,000, the agitators said.

SC and ST students should be admitted to Ph.D programmes if they secured at least 35 per cent marks in the entrance test. For others it should be 40 per cent, they demanded.

The fees should be brought down to Rs. 500 (for SC, ST students) and Rs. 1,000 (for others). The practice of issuing national scholarships to students who were admitted to Ph.D programmes should be continued.

Students also alleged that the university’s SC and ST Special Cell had not called for applications for scholarships from Dalit students for two years. The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Mysore should resolve this at the earliest, they demanded.

The Vice-Chancellor, K.S. Rangappa, stated that the students had indeed met him in this regard, but clarified that he could not go against UGC rules on entrance tests for Ph.D programmes. He would consider only “reasonable demands”, and nothing else, he added.

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