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Students plan all night sit-in to protest scrapping of non-Net fellowship

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New Delhi: Protests over scrapping of non- National Eligibility Test (NET) fellowship by UGCcontinued for the second day today with the students from different academic institutions deciding to stage an all night sit-in outside the office demanding resumption of the fellowship.

Large number of students from JNU, DU, Jamia Millia, Ambedkar University and other institutions sat on a dharna at the UGC demanding the authorities to restore the fellowships.

“Our protest and ‘Occupy UGC’ demonstration will continue till our demands are met and the fellowships restored,” said All India Students’ Association (AISA) state secretary Ashutosh Kumar.

Congress’s students outfit National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) too has protested doing away of the fellowship.

Condemning the move by the UGC, NSUI vice president Amrita Dhawan said, “It is another move of the Centre to commercialise and privatise education.”

On the first day of the protest yesterday, scores of students from Jawaharlal Nehru University and Delhi University had staged a demonstration against the UGC’s move.

The scheme of 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 undertaking MPhil and PhD and they were provided Rs 5,000 and Rs 8,000 per month for 18 months and four years respectively.

They also got a contingency amount per year to help them carry out their research.

Former JNUSU vice-president Anant Prakash Narayan was injured, allegedly by police, and was taken to hospital.

By early evening, an “all-party delegation”, as the present vice-president Shehla Rashid Shora puts it, went in to “negotiate” with officials.

Less than an hour later she said, “Negotiations have failed. The UGC chairperson did not meet us. The all-party delegation has decided not to move from here. We have decided to camp here at UGC office along with hundreds of students.”

She also appealed to students from across Delhi to join them.