Alleging subversion of the reservation policy in MPhil and PhD admission procedure, representatives of University of Hyderabad (UoH) Students Union have launched a relay hunger strike. The row began with the announcement of test results for prescribed courses ahead of interviews as several departments said, "No candidate (was) found eligible as per UGC (University Grants Commission) Regulations 2016".
A recent circular by University authorities said that 50% cut off marks for general category and 'Economically Weaker Section' aspirants and 45% cut off marks for aspirants from Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes Other Backward Classes and for Persons With Disabilities (PWD) would be considered. The students took severe objection in imposing "cut off" marks in the admission, saying that it was nothing but a practice of "exclusion" of marginalised sections including Scheduled Castes and Tribes.
Speaking to TNM, Students Union General Secretary Gopi Swamy, a PhD scholar in social sciences, said that the University authorities have grossly violated the reservation policy by bringing up the "cut off" method.
Gopi Swamy alleged, "Though UGC (University Grants Commission) brought that regulation in 2016, the 78th Academic Council (AC) resolved to fill seats by calling for interviews with 1:6 ratio to ensure the implementation of rule of reservation, but the recent 86th AC virtual meeting to which Students Union representatives were not even considered to be invited, has taken the decision to bring the cut off method."
He further added "The administration's decision is a discriminatory practice as it violates the reservation policy and 2018 amendment of UGC regulations, which clearly state that no reserved seat should go vacant. We demand that university authorities immediately release a second list candidates for interviews as per the 1:6 ratio"
Sree Charan, Vice President of HCU-SU, told TNM, "The shortlisting method has clearly violated the spirit of reservation policy. At least 71 seats, in which 64 are of SC,ST,OBC students, are going to be vacant. This is a deliberate plan to make higher education a distant dream for marginalised sections of the society."
He further demanded that the University should go ahead with the 1:6 ratio (interviewing six candidates for one seat) interview method, while asserting "autocratic decisions will not be tolerated. We will continue our fight till university releases a fresh notification to fill the vacant seats."
In the wake of these allegations and the protest, TNM tried to reach out to UoH Spokesperson, Prof Vinod Pavarala, to seek a clarification on the same. A response is awaited.