Local residents of Munirka area protest outside the gates of the JNU, against a function that was allegedly anti national in nature praising Afzal Guru on campus, in the capital New Delhi on friday. Delhi Police security was provided at the entrance to the JNU during the protest. Express Photo by Tashi Tobgyal New Delhi 120216

Why Indian educational institutes are burning?

FTII, JNU, HCU, NIT and Allahabad university, these are all country’s premier educational institutes but there is another common thread biding these seats of learning together – they all have witnessed student unrest in the rest. Now this raises a crucial question here – what are the reasons for massive protest & uproar at these institutes?

While students across the country are protesting over various issues, what is worrying is the fact that such protests are rising at alarming rate. What started with Film & Training Institute of India (FTII), seems to have a never-ending trail.

The protests at FTII began after the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the chairman of the institute. Students alleged saffronisation of the institute as Chauhan was linked with BJP. Students then went on a strike for marathon period of 139 days. Interestingly, student bodies across the country joined the cause and it catapulted into a major countrywide protest. A group of students from FTII went to cities like Delhi to garner support from other institutes like Jawahar Lal Nehru University (JNU). They even met Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Why Indian educational institutes are burning1

Suicide of Rohith Vemula, a research scholar at Hyderabad Central University (HCU) shook the entire nation. Vemula was among five students being suspended by the institute following allegations of assault on a leader of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). His suicide was followed by political uproar and for many politicians it was a God sent opportunity who wasted no time to fly to Hyderabad to express their solidarity with victim’s family and protesting students.

Arguably JNU row was one the most intense student protest ever happened in Indian history as it snowballed into a national issue. Allegations of anti-national slogans being raised at campus were leveled, which led to the arrest of student union president Kanhaiya Kumar and some other students like Umar Khalid and Anriban Bhattacharya. Sedition charges were framed against the protesting students for shouting anti-national slogans on an event marked to the death anniversary of terrorist accused of attacking Indian Parliament, Afzal Guru.

After shocks of JNU incident were seen at Fergusson college, Pune where “Truth of JNU” debate had led to clash between different groups of students.

Youth moments are nothing new to India. From youth participation against imposition of emergency to Mandal Commission, youth have played constructive role. But in stark contrast, energy of Indian youth is now being utilised as tool to implement bigger political ploy.

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