Nine protesters arrested, released later

A Students Federation of India (SFI) protest march in Bangalore on Thursday seeking overhaul of the diploma education system turned violent after the police refused to allow them to go to Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar’s residence.

The police were forced to lathi-charge the unruly crowd. They arrested nine of them.

The march began at the Town Hall, but the protesters were stopped by the police in front of Ulsoor Gate police station.

The agitated students started shouting slogans and sat on the road demanding permission for the march. When they refused to budge, the police resorted to lathi-charge. The nine protesters, who were arrested, were released later. The police, however, said that cases were not booked against them. Students from 15 colleges in Bangalore, Tumkur, Hassan, Mysore, Koppal, Mandya, Davangere, Dharwad, Chickballapur and Mangalore participated in the protest.

The protest was organised in the wake of the results of various diploma courses by the Directorate of Technical Education in which more than 60 per cent of the students had failed, said SFI’s Bangalore district president Muniraju M.

The demands included that the students of diploma courses be given the option to “carryover” subjects as in degree courses, replace the “tough” syllabus with an easier one, regular classes for at least four months, reduction in number of examinations, bring down fees collected for re-evaluation and issue of photocopies, an admission process free of donation, besides setting up proper infrastructure such as library and laboratory in colleges.

They urged the Directorate of Technical Education to take steps against commercialisation of education, stopping certification of private polytechnics and setting up polytechnic institutions by the government wherever there is a need. “We want a degree system and a change in the present diploma system. People who join diploma courses come from poor backgrounds and they are forced to pay a huge amount as supplementary examination fees,” said, Jeeva J., SFI district joint secretary.

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