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Indian students protest against Govt increase in rent

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Indian students beat drums as they shout slogans during a protest march towards the parliament in New Delhi, India on Nov 23. Hundreds of students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University were joined by students from other universities, activists and members of civil society as they marched towards India’s parliament to protest against the hostel fee hike, along with their other demands. (AP)

Hundreds of students and activists sang, danced and chanted anti-government slogans in India’s capital on Saturday as they marched against increased student housing fees at a public university.

During the protest in New Delhi, the students chanted slogans such as “Fight, fight, fight for your right to study” and “Keep fighting, keep dying.” The protest took a jovial turn from last week, when several students clashed with police, sustained injuries, and were detained and charged with destroying public property.

The initial protests last week were mainly by students from Jawaharlal Nehru University, where a new hostel manual aims to increase rent for a single-bed room to more than $8 per month from less than $1 per month earlier.

The security deposit more than doubled to more than $160. On Saturday, they were joined by activists, former students and left-wing political organizations who called for free education for all. Instead of clashing, some sang satirical songs about issues like cow protectionism and the government’s clampdown on dissent.

Kriti Shukla, 30, a former student from a private school who joined the protesters, said education is the only way to bridge the class and income divide in India. “Education, unless made free, we cannot fight with any form of discrimination or poverty,” she said.

The students said they won’t back down unless lawmakers intervene in Jawaharlal Nehru University’s decision to hike the fees. “We won’t let our spaces be hampered by these things,” said Mohammad Asif Khan, a postgraduate student at JNU. “We will reclaim our spaces back.” (AP)

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