Year Ender 2023: A glance at 5 student protests across India this year

In 2023, students across multiple educational institutions in India took a stand through street protests, voicing their concerns and demands. This surge in student activism highlights the challenges faced by the country’s young learners, encompassing issues related to social justice, academic disparities, and financial hurdles.
Their protests encompassed a wide array of grievances, spanning from controversies surrounding cultural festivals to opposition against national exams and discontent regarding fellowship increments.They underscored the diverse range of challenges confronting students. Many of these demonstrations showcased the resilience of students and provided a platform for addressing more pressing issues.
Let’s delve into the pivotal events that ignited these student protests within the academic sphere.
Hindu College Cultural Fest Controversy
The decision by Hindu College, Delhi, to cancel a cultural festival triggered widespread student protests. The abrupt halt to the event led to a standoff between students and the college administration, raising questions about the autonomy of student-led initiatives within the campus. This controversy became a rallying point for student agitation.
Demonstration by Medical Students in Hamirpur
At Dr. Radhakrishnan Government Medical College in Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh, medical students voiced their discontent against the sudden announcement of the National Exit Test (NEXT). Their frustration stemmed from inadequate preparation time and concerns about the test’s impact on their academic readiness. The protests persisted for a week, highlighting the students’ passionate resistance and urgency regarding the issue.
Discontent Against Increase in Stipend for JRF-SRF Fellowships in 2023
Across India, students showcased their dissatisfaction with the modest 19% raise in the stipends for Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) and Senior Research Fellowship (SRF) announced in June this year. These protests shed light on the financial challenges faced by research scholars, advocating for a more significant increase to ensure their financial stability. PhD students strongly advocated for a substantial 60% raise in stipends for JRF, SRF, and other levels of research associates.
Demonstrations Regarding Alleged Harassment at IP College Festival
At IP College for Women (IPCW) in Delhi, students orchestrated human chain marches to denounce reported instances of campus harassment during a college fest. Demonstrations expanded beyond the campus grounds, demanding the resignation of IPCW’s principal. The protests stemmed from demands for accountability and the principal’s resignation due to alleged negligence in handling harassment issues.
Ban on Protests at JNU
Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) implemented regulations limiting protests within a 100-meter radius of academic structures, sparking intense disagreement and resistance. Students viewed this as a direct infringement on their fundamental right to protest. The imposed penalties include hostel expulsion for up to two months, a fine of Rs 20,000, or even rustication if caught participating in hunger strikes, sit-ins, or any form of protest. Similar consequences apply to those obstructing entry or exit from these facilities. This shift in policy follows an incident in October where an “anti-national” slogan was found on the School of Languages building.

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