Trigger Warning: Sexual Harassment, Caste Violence, Abuse
The year 2022 has witnessed campus protests and movements that questioned fascist forces across the nation— fighting against caste discrimination to sexual and domestic abuse, this year has been opposing the systemic discrimination and exclusion happening in the campuses of India.
When student leaders like Sharjeel Imam and Umar Khalid continues to suffer, for voicing their dissent, it becomes necessary to know about the students, especially the minority students, who are targeted by the state for expressing their opinion. Institutional harassment and murders continue to happen in India and has become a normalised part of the Indian culture.
This year has been powerful in terms of the student movements and campus protests that shook the fascist forces in India. Here’s a sneak peek to the 7 popular campus movement of 2022.
1. The fight for Maulana Azad National Fellowship
Smriti Irani, the Union Minority Affairs Minister, came up with a decision on the 10th of December to discontinue the Maulana Azad National Fellowship, a scholarship for minority students— to be stopped from this academic year.
The students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (Students Union) protested against the proposal and sought the repeal of the centre’s order.
‘Muslims and other minorities are already lagging behind and this government does not want them to progress,’ says a student from JNU who was part of the protest. JNUTA demands immediate reversal of the government decision to withdraw fellowship for minority students.
According to Smriti Irani, the decision was taken as the fellowship overlapped with other schemes. This has not been the first time the government policies have turned its ugly side against the marginalised students.
2. Daily wage sanitation workers on strike
Since November 22, the sanitation workers at Punjabi University in Patiala have been on a strike demanding regularisation of services. The sanitation workers intensified their strike against the university administration and dumped garbage outside the administration block and the sanitation department of the university.
There was a similar protest in 2019, where the sanitation workers showed their dissent against the delay in salaries, by dumping the garbage outside the offices of officials including the university registrar.
There was also a protest announced by the non-teaching Class B and C employees, in early October, against the delay in disbursal of salaries.
3.Why are just women controlled? Against the night curfew in Kerala
The students from Government Medical College in Kerala, filed a writ petition in the High Court, under the banner of ‘Azadi- Break the Curfew Movement’ in late November.
Also read: Curfews, Dress Codes, Surveillance: Hostel Restrictions For Women Reflect Deep-Rooted Gender Bias
The Kerala High Court slammed the night curfew at the Calicut Medical College’s ladies’ hostel, while considering the plea of its students union against the curbs imposed on inmates.
The students also mentioned about the attitude of the warden and security personnel in terms of moral policing and hurling abuses if the students arrived late.
‘Why are just women controlled? Aren’t troublemaker men supposed to be locked away. Can’t the curfew be imposed on men and let women out,’ observes Justice Devan Ramachandran.
4. South Asian University students for higher stipend
In the month of November 2022, South Asian University students kick started their protest demanding higher stipend and equal stakeholder membership in critical bodies in the university.
This is not the first time it’s happening in the South Asian University.
Also read: My Journey From Jharkhand To Cambridge: The Truth About Meritocracy And Scholarships
Back in 2021, several students protested by boycotting their classes for the immediate disbursal of “scholarships and free ships with arrears from October 2020” along with demands like “phased accommodation” on the university’s campus.
5. Protests broke out at Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology against sexual harassment
The students of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology protested against the professor, who was accused of sexual harassment. The police arrested the accused in early December in Jammu and Kashmir’s Baramulla district.
Also read: Poster Series: Remembering Kunan Poshpora On Kashmiri Women’s Resistance Day
The students protested and demanded action against the professor, who is also the head of the division of the agriculture extension and communication at the university.
6. JMI bans entry of 3 ex-students including Safoora Zargar
Students protested in Jamia Millia Islamia Central University as they decided to ban the entry of the student-activist Safoora Zaragar in the month of September 2022. The university said the decision was taken in order to ‘maintain a peaceful academic environment’.The charges against Safoora included, protesting against “irrelevant and objectionable issues”.
‘Safoora Zargar is an ex-student of M. Phil, Dept. of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences. She is one of the accused of conspiracy with other persons to instigate and start riots in northeast Delhi on 23.02.2020. She was booked under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), 1967 by Delhi Police,’ the order stated.
Also read: Police Brutality Against Women: From Soni Sori To Safoora Zargar
The protest was followed by the police imposing restrictions in the entire Okhla region under section 144 of the CrPC.
7. Students protest at the KRNNIVSA against caste discrimination
On 20th December 2022, it will mark the 16th day of protest at the K.R. Narayanan National Institute of Visual Science and Arts (KRNNIVSA). The students are protesting against the institute director, who has been misusing his powers and making it difficult for the sanitation workers and Dalit students alike.
The students council started their protest after five sanitation workers in the institute reported that they were forced to do domestic work including cleaning toilets at the institute director’s private residence, in addition to the work they do at the institute, without any pay.
This is not an exhaustive list of campus protests that took place in 2022. This year has been a constant fight especially for the minorities with continuous struggles and hardships. 2022 has seen so many protests across India. From curbing the right to free speech to executing anti-minority policies, the students from various universities and campuses came forward questioning the fascist forces and dictatorship of upper class-upper caste consciousness.
Disclaimer: This is by no means an exhaustive or representative list. Suggestions to add to the list are welcome in the comments section.