'Occupy UGC' protest: Students try to enter office, detained

New Delhi, Oct 23: A protest by students here against the UGC's move to scrap non-NET fellowship escalated today and led to police detaining scores of them as they tried to enter the premises of the academic body.

The students, camping outside the University Grants Commission (UGC) office here since Wednesday demanding revocation of the move, alleged they were lathi-charged and about 100 of them detained when they tried to go inside to meet the officials.

'Occupy UGC' protest turns violent

"When we tried to go inside, police prevented us. When we protested, we were lathi-charged, leading to injuries to a few of the students, who had to be rushed to hospital," said Sucheta De, one of the protesters.

A senior police official said that around 100 protesters were detained and taken to Bhalswa dairy police station in north-west Delhi. He, however, declined to comment on the allegations of lathi-charge.

Hundreds of students from across varsities in Delhi, including Delhi University, JNU, Ambedkar University, had joined the protest over the last two days and many stayed on there through the Dussehra holiday and even burnt an effigy of UGC chairman Ved Prakash. They claimed that police were not allowing them -- even the women protesters -- to use toilets on the UGC premises.

The students leading the 'Occupy UGC' protest said they will not budge from outside the commission's office till the decision was revoked. The non-National Eligibility Test (NET) fellowship, which is provided to those undertaking research in central universities across India, was scrapped by UGC in its last meeting.

Under the scheme, financial assistance was provided to students pursuing M.Phil and Ph.D of, respectively, Rs 5,000 and Rs 8,000 per month. Ph.D students got assistance for four years and M.Phil students for 18 months.

They also got a contingency amount every year to help them undertake their research. The protesters later said that a student delegation has gone to meet the UGC officials inside the office. "A delegation of students representing the protesters has now been allowed to go inside to raise our demands," said former JNU students' union president Ashutosh Kumar.


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