Shillong: Agitated and restless students of North Eastern Hill University Students Union (NEHUSU) on Thursday skipped classes to come out and protest.
The NEHUSU has been writing to the university administration to cater to their demands like clean water in hostels, proper hostel mess food, wifi connection, upgradation of books and facilities in the libraries, etc. The students have also been demanding availability of medicines in the NEHU Health Center.
Agitating students gathered in front of the Central Library at NEHU campus on Thursday and started their protest rally towards the administrative building. The students also demanded the Vice Chancellor to resign if their demands weren’t fulfilled.
As the slogans of ‘VC Come Out, Come Out’ grew louder, the guards at the admin gate prepared to deal with any intrusion. While officials tried to persuade the student members, the students were adamant and demanded the VC to come out and meet them in person.
VC Prof. Prabha Shankar Shukla eventually appeared before the agitating students and tried to explain to the students that he had just taken charge a few months back ( July, 27, 2021). However, the students said he has had enough time to make changes at the university. The NEHUSU rebutted every claim made by him.
Concerning the demand for filling up vacancies, including that of a pro-vice chancellor, Prof. Shukla said the teachers’ post has already been advertised and the process is going on.
The students sought a timeline for the same but the VC said it will take time for the process to be completed. “I just joined a few months ago, and to solve all the issues immediately is not possible. I am already doing the work in the interest of the university and students,” the Vice Chancellor said.
Prof. Shukla denied charges made by the students that he was never in his office. He said that he has been extending his working hours in the office and has given ample of time to the students’ issues.
To the demand of providing hostels for all students, Prof. Shukla said renovation work is going on in the old building of NEHU along with bamboo huts. At this one studetn shouted back, “We are not seeing any work.”
Backing their complaints with video evidence, the students showed the VC pictures and video clippings of the poor condition of the hostels and also yellow-coloured water flowing from hostel taps.
After an arduous discussion, the vice chancellor agreed to give in writing assurances about improving the facilities.
Speaking with EastMojo, NEHUSU advisor Brandon Paswet said it is due to the incompetence of the Vice Chancellor that they have been compelled to come out and protest. “We placed our demands before the VC on May 5, but till date there has been no solution to the students’ issues,” said Paswet.
NEHUSU president Meysan Dkhar said most of the books in the library are outdated. “Most of the times the VC is not in the office. If he is the office, he is never available, so that is why we are demanding for a pro- vice-chancellor,” said Dkhar.
He also added that if their demands are not met, a stronger protest will be carried out which will stop the functioning of NEHU.
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