A day after a massive protest at the Madras Christian College in Chennai, over the death of a first-year student, the college has agreed to a meeting with the students. The students have agreed to give up their protest in view of the college's proposal for a meeting.
On Tuesday, over 500 students of the well-known arts and science college in the city staged a protest on campus, demanding justice for Mahima, a first-year student of the Chemistry Department who collapsed at the basketball court on Monday. Students have alleged that Mahima was forced to continue with strenuous physical activity, despite her complaining of low blood pressure and aneamia. Mahima was reportedly wrongly advised by the physical education trainers that her blood would start ‘pumping’ again if she ran more rounds around the field.
According to the police, Mahima suffered a cardiac arrest and was rushed to a nearby private hospital where she was declared brought dead. It is unclear whether she had any other medical condition that the college was unaware of.
Speaking to TNM on the condition of anonymity, a student said that while the Principal Alexander Jesudasan has refused to apologise on behalf of the college, he has agreed for a meeting by December 14, Friday.
Further, the controversial, mandatory 'Sports for All' programme has been cancelled on Wednesday, when it was originally scheduled. A meeting has also reportedly been called with representatives from the Sports Committee, the Staff Committee and the Student’s Union to discuss the future of the programme.
A charter of demands put forth by the students includes a call for banning the compulsory programme at the college, since a majority of the students are unwilling to take part in it.
In the event that such a ban is not possible, they demand that the programme be made optional, as per the University Grants Commission guidelines. They have also asked for medical certificates to be accepted and health conditions be granted a concession for the Sports for All programme. In addition to this, the students also demanded, "Proper physicians (both male and female) with medical facilities… Physically challenged students should be exempted from Sports for All… Ambulance and 24 hour doctor facility.”
“Management or responsible authorities should provide rational and scientific explanation regarding the occasional physical exertion,” the students wrote.
Meanwhile, the Selaiyur police station have registered recorded a case under Section 174 of Criminal Procedure Code.