BSS Women’s College students Swati (left) and Meena launch their fast on Monday. Picture by Gautam Dey
Two students of BSS Women’s College, Dhanbad, launched an indefinite hunger strike on campus from Monday to protest against government apathy in resolving the ongoing statewide strike of 5,000-odd teaching and non-teaching staff of 55 affiliated colleges of five state universities.
The agitating duo — Swati Anand of second-year BA (Hindi honours) and her senior Meena Kumari — maintained that the strike launched by the teaching and non-teaching staff on December 16 was adversely affecting their studies and future.
Monday was the last date of submission of forms for undergraduate Part III examination along with late fees. “The last date of submission of forms for the exam already expired on March 24. Today, was the last chance to fill up forms with a late fee of Rs 200 but that also lapsed,” Swati rued.
She said students were at their wit’s end as to what would happen next.
Notably, more than 50 students of the college had started studying outside their campus gate from March 26 as a mark of protest.
“We sat outside the college campus for five days and studied under the open sky. Yet the authorities did not bother to resolve the issue. So, we will fast unto death,” Swati added.
Both Swati and Meena declared that they would not break their hunger strike till the state assured them that the staff agitation would end.
The duo will be joined by Sabita Kumari, a third-year economic honours student on Tuesday, followed by Nahid Akhtar of final year English and others in the coming days.
College principal Karuna pleaded helplessness.
“Nothing is in our hands as this is a conflict between the government and striking employees. Form submissions can’t take place without the co-operation of non-teaching staff who are taking part in the statewide strike,” she said.
She conceded that academic activities had gone haywire. Registration of Part I students is pending and not a single class of second-year students has taken place.