The students of Assam Women’s University, Jorhat who went on a 36 hour hunger strike from March 19, are still on protest demanding the appointment of a permanent vice-chancellor and making it a full-fledged university.
Established in 2013 as per the bill passed in the Assam Assembly, the university has 15 departments and around 700 students as of now. Already two batches passed-out from the university successfully completing post-graduation.
The protest started when Assam education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on March 17 said that the degrees are of no value since the university does not have a permanent vice-chancellor.
Speaking to media persons, Sarma, in response to a specific question on whether the university would be converted into a technical Institute, said, “Something will be done. I will try to give a better direction to the university.”
“A certificate is invalid where the university does not have a vice-chancellor,” Sarma added.
“We will continue our protest unless and until we get a positive response from the state government regarding the status of our university. Where the government has been using the social campaign Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao we are witnessing a contradictory scene here in reality,” Bhagyashri Khound, a second semester student from AWU said.
Gyanashree Kotoky, an alumnus of AWU who is now pursuing her MPhil said, “It is not because we did not get seat anywhere and preferred this university. Even people from Nigeria came to study here in spite of its insufficient academic and administrative infrastructure. We will never support government’s decision in degrading the first ever women university of Northeast India into a technical institute.”
After the hunger strike, a few students interacted with Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal where he said of transforming the university into an institute of higher education.
Former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi also tweeted and called for support from the centre. “Assam Women’s University was one of my dream project for empowering the women. It is not only a pride of Assam but of the whole country. Assam BJP govt’s decision on AMU exposes the hollow promises of flagship program,” he tweeted.
Students from all over the state and across the country have been showing their supports to the university, including Jawaharlal Nehru University ,Banaras Hindu University, Sikkim University, North Eastern Hill University, Guwahati University, Dibrugarh University, Rajiv Gandhi University etc.
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