Students of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Hyderabad ended their hunger strike on Thursday after the administration withdrew its decision to discontinue the BA Social Sciences course and hostel facilities for the students.
The students were on protest for nearly two weeks. With the administration not relenting to their demands, they had gone ahead with a hunger strike on Monday. Anti-caste activists Radhika Vemula and Raja Vemula also joined their protest, accusing the administration of being casteists by depriving education to the students from marginalized communities.
The protesting students said that the administration also promised to constitute an empowered committee with three faculty members from Hyderabad to look into other demands put forth by the students.
"The administration has promised to reintroduce the BA Social Sciences course from the academic year of 2020, and provide hostel facility. Since two of our demands have been met, we called off our protest," said Krishnanath, a student.
The other long standing demand of students is that TISS should register as a deemed university in all the states. As TISS is not registered in states like Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, SC, ST and OBC students cannot avail scholarship from their respective state governments. The other demand by the students is to resolve the issue of administration asking fee upfront to SC, ST students before they get their Government of India-post matric scholarship (GoI-PMS).
In fact, the administration had initially agreed to meeting all the demands on Tuesday itself. However, as the students found the wordings in the letter 'vague' and without an official signature, they had continued with their protest. On Thursday, the students received a communication undersigned by the authorities which also promised of constituting a committee to look into the issues pertaining to the Hyderabad campus, following which they called off the strike.
Earlier in November, the administration had removed the BA Social Science course for Hyderabad from 2018-19 admissions and further said that the Hyderabad campus would be made non-residential for the fresh batch of students, triggering protest from students.
The protest was supported by several student organizations from JNU, Osmania and UoH, and academicians including Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd.