Pondicherry Uni says no scholarships for students who protested, withdraws after flak

The university had, recently, issued an order permitting students with 70% attendance and only those who had not participated in the protests in the past semester to apply for PG scholarships.
Students of PU protesting inside the campus
Students of PU protesting inside the campus
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Pondicherry University came under flak for restricting students who had protested against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) earlier this year from being eligible for the institution’s scholarships for postgraduate students. 

The order, dated May 22, 2020, which has now been taken off the university’s website, stated that the Heads of the departments shall recommend students for the postgraduate scholarship award from the institution. “The Heads of the Departments may kindly arrange to send their claim of the candidates listed in the annexure to the Finance Section for claiming the scholarship, subject to the condition that they have more than 70% attendance and they have not participated in the protest during this semester,” read the now-withdrawn order. 

The withdrawn order

The order drew flak on social media, with an overwhelming majority questioning the university about the logic behind the decision. 

Speaking to TNM, Parichay Yadav, the President of the Pondicherry University Students Council, said that this is not the first time the administration has tried to clamp down on dissent inside the campus. 

“They introduce a circular and try to impose a rule but then when students oppose it, they take it back. Students these days are very politically conscious and we can spot it when the administration is trying to silence the voices of dissent,” he explained. 

Adding that these scholarships are merit-based and not based on attendance, Parichay said, “Since the protests (against the CAA and the fee hike in the university) the administration has started getting daily attendance records from the departments so that it knows who all have participated in the protests. Earlier, scholarship awards were not based on attendance at all. It was a decentralised process in which departments could take a call.” 

Multiple attempts by TNM to contact Gurmeet Singh, the Vice-Chancellor of the university did not succeed. The copy will be updated once he responds. 

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