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Student rage roars in Himachal, police misued to fail the protest again

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SHIMLA- What happens when your own Government turns the whole state machinery to silence the protesting voices of restless people? What happens when the CM of the state use dictatorial practices against its own people, who dare to protest against him and his Govt.?

Today, we realized how the Govt. turns to cowardice and bullying tricks when the high rank chairs are shaken by the masses. Student community of Himachal Pradesh held a massive protest rally in front of HP Secretariat at Chota Shimla. After suffering police abuse and brutal lathicharge on 18 September, HPU students had made a call to every college and HPU students to take part in the rally, which was scheduled for today.

View Photos & Read About Police Brutality at HPU Campus

joint student front himachal

Today, there was no ABVP, no SFI, but only angry student mob, surrounded by HP Police. As a cowardice act, the police put barriers on various points all over Himachal in every district, stopped the buses carrying students from other districts like Harmirpur, Mandi, Kullu, and Una.

student leaders stand united at himachal

HP Secretariat protest

In Solan district, all students who were on their way to Shimla in a bus were reported to have been detained in order to prevent them from reaching Shimla. Police registered cases against all student under section 107. A huge number of students couldn’t reach Shimla. Please, listen what these students told us about their struggle to reach Shimla.

Massiv hpu student protest shimla

However, about 800-1000 students managed to reach the spot. The student leaders shared the stage irrespective to their differences and bitterness. The anger was busting in insulting, humiliating as well as challenging comments for the Govt. headed by Virbhadra Singh with which these leaders addressed the students. There was no diplomacy in their speeches. The message was put in very clear words. Govt. will have to take back the fee hikes and conduct the SCA elections at HPU in democratic way. Take a look at this video and hear what you must.

The public, the passerbys, onlookers including Secretariat employees couldn’t ignore the protesting voices. For most of these onlookers, it was a matter of student politics or Dharna. They were least concerned about the danger that haunts their fundamental rights and freedom. The public is still living in an illusion, which the Governments has created with the support of flattering media, and that there should be no politics or protest rallies at HPU campus or by the students anywhere.

crowd at chota shimla

These onlookers would only realize what the students are going through if their taxes are hiked by 1000-2000 % or their PF money, allowances etc. were deducted by the same percentage. It should have been, and it is, a matter of serious concern that Govt. is openly misusing the police to suppress the protest.

hpu sca elections

Each and every student is against the ridiculous fee hikes made by the Govt. and incompetent Vice Chancellor of HPU, ADN Bajpai. The university entered into financial crisis and HPU is trying to make up for that from student-pockets. The VC banned the SCA elections so that protests against his anti-student and dictatorial attitude could be silenced, then the HP Police beats students like animals, student leaders were arrested overnight, the girls sitting on chain hunger strike were arrested in the cover of darkness at midnight, hostels are closed, and 144 was imposed at HPU campus, which still continuous.

hpu fee hike protest secretariat

Near about seven battalion of HP Police are deployed at HPU campus only. Many of them are accommodated at HPU halls and rooms. Nowadays, the HPU appears to be training center of police.

Take a look at some of the hiked fees:

hpu-fee

When researchers approached the VC with a plea to reduce the fees, his statement was, “Quite HPU if you can’t pay the fee.”

When the CM was approached and asked how the student would afford such high fees, then he replied, “Students have Rs. 15,000 mobiles and spent over Rs. 200 daily at Shimla Mall. They can pay the fees.”

hpu joint front

Students in various colleges and in HPU protested peacefully, not once, but for months, they sat on chain hunger strikes for about 20 days before the last three girls were detained by the police.

To the disappointment of the HP Govt. and the VC, student did not step back after the brutal beating of police, but it just triggered bigger, aggressive protests. After today’s cowardice act of misusing police to stop students from entering Shimla to take part in the protest rally, the anger is fueled even more. It was a mistake, a big mistake. Now, the coming protests are going to be more aggressive.

The VC announced members of indirectly elected members, all of whom resigned within a couple of hours. Their resignation came as a tight slap as they mentioned in their resignation that no consent was taken from them before nominating them and that they support the student protest.

Take a look at the resignation letters of the meritorious students forcefully nominated for SCA:

Now, Virbhadra Singh’s statement on today’s protest said, “Some political leaders are provoking and misleading the student against his Govt.”

massive student protest in shimla

A big question, which each of us should be concerned about, is that how can the Govt. snatch our right to protest? Under what laws the student buses were stopped and students were told not to take part in the protest? We are already feeling sorry for those who still haven’t realized that these corrupt politicians aren’t trustworthy, that they can turn the state machinery against its people to save their chair, and that they would even crush you like a crawling insect if they could.

hpu vc adn bajpai

Here, the Govt. isn’t dealing with illiterate, ignorant crowd. Rather, it’s the educated youth of Himachal, which deny surrendering their freedom and rights to the suppression of the Govt.

In coming days, Himachal will see more protests. The students have already announced the schedule for the upcoming protest rallies. The only way to escape facing this revolting and rebellious student community is to listen to them and consider their unrest and grievance.

himachal colleges protest

We would request the public to shed the fear of Govt. and it’s often used tool of suppression; the police. The police isn’t meant only to be a slave to the Govt. It’s meant to protect the rights of the citizens and ensure their safety. The Govt. isn’t meant to rule us, it’s just given the responsibility to manage the resources of the state and serve the public. The real ruler in a democracy is always the public, but here, we have witnessed ugliest level of politics by our own Govt. It’s time to wake up and remind the Govt. who is the real ruler.

water canons shimla

shimla woman police

shimla police

shimla girls

sfi and abvp joint front

old shimla couple

misuse of hp police

hpu vc adn bajpai

hpu student organizations unite

hpu student leaders

hpu girls students

hpu colleges protest

himachal student protest

himachal secretariat

Himachal Pradesh University Protest

himachal pradesh university fee hike

himachal pradesh police

chota shimla secretariat

chota shimla police station

Video and Inputs: Kritika Sehgal, HPU

Photo Credits: Madan/Tarun Sharma, HPU

Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 9 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture the world around him in his DSLR lens.

Campus Watch

Govt Prepares Alternative Academic Calendar to Compensate Loss in Education Sector, No Decision on Opening Schools Till May 3

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HP Govt Decision on Opening schools after may 3

Shimla-Education of students, especially in schools, is also hit by COVID-19 pandemic. Like several other sectors, the education sector is faced with a problem it never before came face to face.

In this regard, Union Minister for Human Resource Development (HRD) Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank presided over a video conference meeting with Education Ministers and Secretaries of School Education Department of all states and Union Territories to discuss various issues pertaining to the education sector in the country in the wake of coronavirus.

Education Ministers of 22 States and secretaries from 14 States and Union Territories attended the conference. Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy Smt Anita Karwal and senior officials of the Ministry participated in the meeting.

Pokhriyal said that whole efforts should be that our 33 crore students do not face any difficulty and can continue their education. For this, various efforts are being made to strengthen the online education platforms like DIKSHA, Swayam, SwayamPrabha, Vidyadaan 2.0, E-Pathshala, Educational TV Channel of Doordarshan, DishTV, Tata Sky, Jio, Airtel DTH etc. The Minister also said that apart from this, an alternative academic calendar has also been released by NCERT which states can adopt according to their local situation. Also, we have to prepare safety guidelines in case of opening of schools.

Mid-day meal scheme has also been continued during the summer vacation for students. Doordarshan is providing education curriculum content through various programmes with DTH services on 33 channels.

The Minister appealed to all the States to start the process of evaluation of answer sheets of Board exams and facilitate CBSE to evaluate answer sheets of the students in their respective States.       

Education Minister Suresh Bhardwaj while interacting with Union Minister apprised that distance learning initiatives are being taken up by the department through the Internet and Doordarshan Himachal. Now, DD Himachal is also available on Airtel DTH at channel number 406. He said 66 percent students from elementary classes and 72 percent students from higher classes are on board in distance learning initiatives.

The Minister said that efforts are being made for reaching out to students through All India Radio. 

The HP Board of school examination has conducted exams for all papers of class 10th. A plan is being prepared for a few papers left of plus two standards.  The textbooks have been distributed to all and mid-day meal is also being distributed. The State government is also preparing post-lockdown strategies for the education sector.

He urged the Union Minister to approve four Kendriya Vidyalayas in the state. He also demanded the mid-day meal facility for pre-primary classes.

Rest, the decision over the opening of schools and other educational institute is likely to be taken during the next Cabinet meeting scheduled for May 2. Also, the Prime Minister would take decision on the lockdown and state government would wait for his address on May 3 before taking any big steps.

The lockdown is likely to continue with relaxations and implementation of exist-plans in the green zones.

Moreover, the opening of schools would require facilitating public transport. Therefore, the Transport Department would also have a say in this matter.

Secretary Akshay Sood, Director, Elementary Education Rohit Jamwal,  Director, Higher Education Dr. Amarjeet Sharma and other senior officers of the Education Department were also present in the meeting.

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Campus Watch

HP Govt to Teach School Students via Doordarshan, Whatsapp, Website, Radio 

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HP Govt school to teach online and via doordarshan

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Government today announced to launch the e-learning and teaching for 10th and 12th standard students of the state through Doordarshan. The online learning facility from home will be provided to students under Himachal Doordarshan Gyanshala programme from 17 April, 2020 onwards, it was informed.

 The education department has prepared programme according to the syllabus of HP School Education Board for 10th and 12th classes. The programme would be telecast from 17 April for three hours from 10 AM to 1 PM for different subjects as per the time table.

 The Government further informed that the ‘Learning from Home- Har Ghar Pathshala’, a home based teaching programme for the students from grades 9 to 12 is functional during the lockdown period of COVID-19.

 This programme would help the students to get access to online videos and worksheets from their homes on the Govt Website and Har Ghar Pathshala Website. This programme would start from 16 April, 2020 between 10 am to 1 pm daily till the regular opening of schools, informed the Government.

 Under this programme, the Government claimed, all the students would regularly receive daily videos and home work through WhatsApp groups with teachers on important topics.  Their homework would be regularly checked by the teachers and also provide feedback.

 Education Minister Suresh Bhardwaj said that the education department is also planning to broadcast the study material on TV/Radio/FM to cater every student of the State.

 Secretary Information and Public Relations Rajneesh, Secretary Finance Akshay Sood, Special Secretary Education Hemraj Bairwa, Director Higher Education Dr Amarjeet Sharma, Director Information and Public Relations Harbans Singh Brascon and representatives of Doordarshan Shimla were present of the occasion.

 

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Campus Watch

Shimla’s Private Schools Forcing Parents to Pay Fees Amid Lockdown Despite Govt Directions to Extend Dates

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Private school fees in Shimla

Shimla-Already infamous for charging hefty fees of various sorts throughout the session, private schools in Shimla are still most concerned about their fees. The spread of COVID-19 and nationwide lockdown were not good enough reasons to refrain from compelling parents to submit fees from the beginning of the lockdown. Earlier, they were forcing parents to submit their fees by March 31st.  At that time, the government was still mulling over the period of relaxation in curfew and its frequency. On top of that, schools did not offer online service for depositing fees online, which implied that parents had to walk to the bank associated with the school.

Taking note of it, on March 27th, the Department of Higher Education directed the schools to stop forcing parents and extend the last date of depositing fees to April 30. The Education Minister also told the schools to facilitate parents during the lockdown and extend the last dates. But the administration has never been a deterrent for these schools. The schools continued to persuade parents to deposit fees despite the directions. Some parents accepted even violating lockdown to deposit fees.  

These schools claim they are taking online classes which included giving home-work and assignment through Whatsapp or some other apps. Now, some schools are experimenting with some applications that allow conducting online classes for a few hours.   

Now that the extension of the lockdown is almost inevitable, these schools again started to agitate parents for fees. They have been only asked to extend the date, not to exempt payment of fees. 

“Despite repeated reminders, some of the private school managements are forcing the parents of the students to deposit the school fees during countrywide lockdown/curfew in the state,”

the said a notification issued by the Directorate of Higher Education again on April 9.

“In view of the lockdown/curfew and the pandemic situation in the State the date of deposit of school fees of privately managed schools is hereby deferred till further orders and it is further directed not to force the parents of the ward to deposit the school fees during this period,”

the schools were further directed in the same notification.

The Department said it would take strict action against offenders. However, these schools are least worried about such directions because the students of government officials also study in these schools. On the other hand, the parents can’t come out to openly criticize the functioning of the school where their children are enrolled. Rest, the managements of private schools are well aware that the standard of education offered at the government schools leaves parents with no choice but to kneel in front of them. 

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