More than a month after the students of all four campuses of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) went on strike against the administration’s decision to cut financial aid to students from Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Castes (OBC), the Bombay institute’s administration has been summoned by the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes for a sitting as part of the investigation they have initiated on the matter.
The summons dated March 27 came after 43 days of students’ strike, in response to a petition filed by the students’ representative, Fahad Ahmad against the cutting of funds for SC, ST and OBC students in TISS, Mumbai. Addressed to the Director, TISS Mumbai and copied to the Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, the letter says that the hearing will be on April 12, 2018. The student petitioner is also advised to be present.
The letter also says that failure to appear for the sitting will result in the Commission exercising the power of a Civil Court to ensure their attendance.
TISS Mumbai had filed a civil suit against six protesting students on March 28, 2018. The Bombay City Civil Court refused to grant injunction on the strike and said that the students could continue their protest as long as it was peaceful. The strike is continuing.
Students in TISS campuses across the country are protesting against the move to financial aid to to SC, ST, OBC students who are eligible for the Central government’s post-matriculation scholarships. Simultaneous protests are being held in the Tuljapur, Hyderabad and Guwahati campuses.
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for June 19, after the summer break of the civil court.