The deadlock between the administration and the students of the University of Hyderabad (UoH) continued on Thursday, with students refusing to budge from the administrative block.
As part of an 'Occupy Admin' movement, the students have been staying put, for three days now protesting irregularities in the admission process and have accused the University of flouting reservation norms.
"In the Centre for the Study of Indian Diaspora and Human Rights, they conducted a written entrance test first, and then came up with a statement that candidates can't be accommodated. In addition to that, the administration has further decided to revise the MPhil/PhD intakes in various departments/centres which have ultimately resulted in the ST quota vanishing. They are tampering with the central reservation policy in a veiled manner," a statement from the students' union read.
"Administration had assured the students' union at the academic council meeting that there won't be any reduction in the number of seats. Now the administration's attempt is nothing but a blatant attempt to subvert the existing democratic framework and make the university function as per the whim of a single man called Appa Rao (Vice-Chancellor)," it added.
The students also claimed that they had already made many representations and called for a protest after they failed to reach a consensus.
"We are not going to be intimidated by administrationâ€™s threat of initiating police action against us (which they did at the starting of protest itself) and will continue our indefinite occupy admin till our demands are met," the statement added.
The students released a six-point demand. The demand the release of results for the Center for the Study of Indian Diaspora and Human Rights. The want the exact number of seats to be filled as mentioned in the prospectus. They want the university administration to strictly follow the reservation policy. They are also demanding that results of MTech Bioinformatics be notified based on the entrance examination and GATE, as mentioned in the prospectus. The want the university to maintain a uniform weightage system for interviews.
Lastly, the students are enraged by the university's Annexure III affidavit, which is an undertaking from the new students that they wonâ€™t participate in any protest and wonâ€™t criticise the administration on social media, and demand that it is withdrawn.
University refutes allegations
However, the University has also released a detailed statement, refuting the allegations made by the students, and clearing up their stand.
"The UGC regulations for MPhil and PhD, apart from other norms, prescribe the maximum number of MPhil and PhD scholars a faculty can guide based on his designation as Professor, Associate Professor and Assistant Professor respectively," the administration explained.
"In the Centre for Indian Diaspora and Human Rights, based on a detailed discussion with the faculty and the Dean and an assessment of the fact that the limited faculty in these centres have already exceeded the number of students they can guide, the admission process was treated as zero admission," it added.
The University went on to add that the reservation system "works on the well established and mandated roster point system, where an ST seat becomes available only if the intake is eight."
"This intake is not possible in many departments and centres given the faculty resources and the UGC notification that limits the number of students a faculty can guide at any time. It may be noted that this number is related to the fact that a new student can be taken only when a scholar is awarded a degree and the vacancy arises," it said.
"The total seats notified for MPhil/PhD is 339. Out of this, seats for ST candidates is 26 that is 7.67%," it clarified.
However, students are still not satisfied with the response.
Nelson Shanmugan, a research scholar and spokesperson of SFI said, "The UoH, which released its admission prospectus in May 2017, is not considering the regulations that were released in July 2016. Now, they are reducing seats arbitrarily with an outright intention to curb the entry of tribal students into higher education."
â€śThey have conducted the entrance exam across the country. Now that they are saying we are unable to take the students as there is no proportional faculty, what were they doing earlier? Why spend money in such massive way? Isn't it so-called public money?" he asked
"As long as our demands are not met, we are not changing our mode of protest," he insisted.