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While Students burn CM’s Effigy, Police try to conceal protest scene from public

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protest against virbhadra singh

shimla sp office protest

SHIMLA-Today was the day when students would burn CM’s effigy as a protest, but unlike other days, this time police was seen putting more efforts to follow the orders. They did not allow passersby and onlookers to see what was happening amidst loud slogan shouting and the smoke which rose from the burning effigy. Media persons were also a subject to indirect warnings and press card checking.

HP Police had warned the students that if the effigy was burnt, cases will be registered against the violators. They tried hard to get hold of the effigy, but student dodged them and did successfully stage their symbolic protest. There was no drop in the level of aggression in student voices.

himachal pradesh university fee hiike protest

The student protest against jolting fee hikes in Himachal Pradesh University and in all affiliated colleges still continues. It’s gaining momentum right after the extremity of suppression and misuse of our police, but the HP Govt. and the HPU administration are pretending to not have noticed it.

After the HPU VC’s effigy was set on fire a couple of days ago, today, the students burnt that of the CM, Virbhadra Singh’s, in front of the Shimla DC Office.

shimla police

While, HW waited for the protest to begin, policemen, who were barricading the upper fences in front of the DC Office, said, “Yanha khade hona aur photo kichana manna hai”. When we asked the reason, the policemen repeated the usual answer, “ Humne nahi pata, Sahab wanha khade hain, unhi se baat kijiye”.


police barricate at shimla mall
So, today, the police made sure that no one from the common public or any other passerby could inquire what was going on there. Of course, the CM won’t like people to watch his burning effigy. When did this ordinance approved to ban photography on the Shimla Mall? Was there something which must not be photographed and shown to the public? What does a protest gathering and effigy burning mean if it were not to attract the attention of other citizens, who deserve to know why a section of their own people is in so much unrest?

HP Police at DC Office

Many people tried to get a glance of gathering and the source of rising smoke, but the dedicate policemen did not let it happen at any cost. A senior citizen was attracted by the slogan shouting and tried to move towards the source of this noise. When he was denied to go near, he said, “Mujhe sirf dekhna hai kya ho raha hai”, but wasn’t allowed. The police would say the spot was prone to a violent incident and it was for the safety of the public.

One of the policemen, a sub-inspector, approached us and asked to show media card, also warned us in the following words, “Check karna padta hai, aap yanha openly camera leke ghum rahe hain” and added, “wanha bheed ke pass mat jana, apko bhi chot lag sakti hai”

virbhadra singh effigy burnt

Well done HP Police. Unidentified faces with cameras are dangerous, especially those DSLR and Semi-DSLR types. We do not question the discretionary powers that the police is given to inquire a suspicious person, but we do wonder what harm or threat a person with camera would do. Of course, the acquainted faces of local reporters from dailies need not to be directed. It doesn’t matter what they capture, but what matters is the consent to publish it.

protest against virbhadra singh

To those who still think that these protests are mere political nuisance, which are spoiling academic environment of the college and that of HPU campus, we would like to request, again, that dive deeper into the pool of these events and you’ll notice many relevant issues related to our fundamental rights like those related to staging protests.

Lathicharge, arresting protestors, stop protestors and their buses as to stop them from reaching the spot of the rallies, not allowing cameras, and deny common public to hear and see the protests, these aren’t the thing our Govt. should focus on. There must be a reason that these student, whom the police trashed brutally, returned to protest again, and the reason is apparent; they are against putting the education and degrees on sale, so that each one of us could utilize the equality of the opportunity to access the education.

The student protest is likely to continue if the Govt. kept ignoring the student unrest. The Joint Action Committee of HPU students had already announced the dates for various protests throughout Himachal including ‘Chakkajam’ and ‘Mass arrest campaigns’. Rest, wait and watch how much the Govt. cares for the grievance of these students and their parents, who will have to bear the heavily hiked fees.

Photo/Video Credit: Tarun Sharma/Madan

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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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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