Pune: The tribal students living at government hostels across the State will be starting an indefinite sitting out protest outside all the 29 project offices in Maharashtra from August 6. The protest is an extension to the long march held by students around a month ago that was interrupted by the police.
The students are demanding the abolition of the GR that states that the canteens/mess at the hostels would be closed, and the students will be given money (allowance) for eating outside through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) portal. The students are opposing this move because of their past experiences where they said that they have never received money on time.
Bharat Talapade, one of the student leaders, said, “On July 16, while we were conducting a peaceful, constitutional march to protest for our rights, we were detained by the police and then sent back to the districts we came from. Why is the government so afraid of the students that it does not want us to protest even peacefully?”
He further added that the prolonged demands of tribal students have hardly been heard by the government. “Last year, instead of giving us educational material, they started giving us allowance for it through DBT portal. We never got it on time, and when it was transferred to us, it was in two installments. So now, they will do the same for food allowance also. Not everyone would be able to manage on their own if the money comes late.”
He also questioned, “What after educational material and food, the government might try to take away the hostels too, and give money for us to live on our own.”
“Our parents send us to hostels as they feel that it is safe here. But the government is just giving us money and relieving itself of all the responsibilities,” Pooja Burkule, a Nanded-based student, who lives at a government hostel in Pune, said.