Hyderabad: Students of the Kamala Nehru Polytechnic College for Women (KNPW) here were wrongfully confined within the institute’s perimeters by the management to prevent them from joining activists and alumni who were protesting outside the college gate.
The demands of the protestors were to ensure that the Telangana government’s POLYCET notification also includes the Kamala Nehru Polytechnic College for Women, which is to open tomorrow. As things stand, four courses of the college have been removed from the notification which prevents aspiring students from seeking admission in the institute.
Over the last couple of months, alumni and activists have been protesting against the closure of the institution amidst rumors that it is being converted into a private engineering college. When contacted by Siasat.com, Dhiraj Jaiswal, the college’s secretary stated that four courses from the institution are present in the list.
However, courses like hotel management, pharmacy, garment technology, and architecture have been completely removed from the POLYCET notification. Jaiswal said that there aren’t any takers for these courses. However, students said otherwise.
“If you put my parents’ salary together it wouldn’t amount to even Rs. 3000. This is not just my story. All the students at the Kamala Nehru College have joined just because they couldn’t afford to go elsewhere. Except for a few select students, majority of the students in the college are from either from SC/ST or OBC backgrounds and wish to study the courses which are now inaccessible,” said Gali Anusha, a student activist from the Students Federation of India, studying garment technology at KNPW.
“If the students only belonged to upper caste communities, neither the Exhibition Society nor the Telangana government would have even remotely considered shutting down the college. This also is a caste issue,” remarked Deepti Sirla, a member of Dalit Women’s Collective.
Adding to the protestors, Dr. Lubna Sarwath of the Socialist Party of India remarked, “The government is keener on promoting marriage schemes like Kalyana Lakshmi than ensuring decent education to young women.”
The fees for six semesters at KNPW amount to Rs. 12,000 while other private colleges are likely to charge in lakhs, thus making education inaccessible to underprivileged students. On being asked about the lack of infrastructure in the college, Anusha said “Despite what the college says, we have the entire infrastructure needed to study and the teachers in the college have been very supportive as well.”
The students who were confined within the college perimeters were prevented from stepping out until 4:20 p.m and even then asked to vacate the premises instead of joining in the protest.
“Since there were ongoing examinations, the college remained closed. Protestors are just misguiding the public for no reason,” remarked Jaiswal. However, the protestors have rubbished the claims and stated that there were no examinations and students were confined against their will just to prevent the protest from growing in strength.
The protestors remark that the Exhibition Society which runs Kamala Nehru and the Telangana government are hand in glove in ensuring the closure of the college. With no concrete response from either, the student’s demands are falling on deaf ears.