The students had been protesting the hike in fees, in some courses up to 100 percent.

Detained for over 18 hrs Pondy Uni students finally released after VP Naidus event
news Protest Wednesday, February 26, 2020 - 18:35

100 students from Pondicherry University, who have been protesting against the fee hike at the central institute, were released on Wednesday, after over 18 hours in detention. The students, who were detained citing ‘security measures’ ahead of a visit by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu’s event to the University, were released after his event concluded. The students have been protesting fee hike at the University, in some courses up to a 100 percent.

Speaking to TNM, one student said, “We were protesting outside the admin block. We were kept in detention all night at another block in the University.”

However, the students had been protesting against a fee hike since February 6. Courses at the central university, the students said, have become unaffordable with a 100 percent hike for subjects like Computer Science. In addition to the fee hike, a controversial 'transport fee' of Rs 4,000 was also introduced for students who do not avail hostel facilities. 

Visuals of the students being forcefully thrust into police vans went viral on Tuesday. 

Speaking to TNM, a student of the University said that 20 police officers stood guard all night around the students who had been detained at the silver jubilee block on the campus. 

“The administration has given a press release to the media saying that it was part of the security arrangement to detain us. We were all kept in a hall. We could not use our phones as they ran out of charge. We were peacefully protesting all these days. The Vice President's event got over at 11 am. We were released at 1 pm,” said the student.

VCK Lok Sabha MP D Ravikumar slammed the fee hike as abnormal, especially since a majority of the students come from rural backgrounds and will be unable to afford it. 

“The detention is unacceptable. They want to hinder any student activities. No campus is exempt from it. Campuses are being turned authoritarian. This is not the right way to handle students. When they raise fees to exorbitant levels, the students can’t afford it. I wrote to the VC regarding this but got no response,” said the Villupuram MP.