CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu government’s has decided to close down 525 engineering colleges. These colleges were affiliated to Anna University. This action post massive protests by students across the state, is seen as a boon by some students while others are fully supporting the cause. While the DMK leader and the CM, Dr Jayalalithaa, are talking to New Delhi on this issue (with DMK pulling out of the UPA), the film industry has also united for the cause in a one-day fast. Meanwhile, on Monday, many college students staged protests outside their educational institutions, to send across a message that they’re concerned about the human rights violation. “We had about 600-700 students outside our college, with banners and placards,” adds Kaushik P, who’s college is on OMR, “Even those who were inside the classes joined them.”
Some students are appalled by the recent decision to shut colleges, stating that it is a reaction to their recently-held non-violent protests. “The college management do not want to see hordes of protesters near their premises because it’ll tarnish the college’s image,” says a science student who does not wish to be named, “The Principals of the colleges are in-charge of ensuring that students vacate the campuses at the earliest.” The scene in most colleges is similar: students are vacating hostels, as they’ve been instructed to, and heading to either their hometowns or other places in the city. “In our college, girls have been given an extension of a days’ time to leave,” says Kaushik.
As far as where lecturers and faculty members of the colleges are concern, the situation seems different. While some colleges have announced that they will reopen on Friday, everything hinges on the government’s decision to reopen
Now due to closing of the colleges, students are utilizing the new trend in the form of social networking websites for connecting and protesting. A second year student, Venkatesh Aditya, studying computer science in a city college, plans to join a student protest at Avadi. He says, “By shutting down colleges, students actually get more time to protest. Social networking sites are playing a huge role in connecting students from across departments and colleges in the state. We get regular updates about protests happening and can join them, if interested.”
“Though we’ll have less work this week, it will result in extra burden for teachers and faculty members,” says a lecturer on condition of anonymity, “We will have to speed up the lessons and practical tests once colleges reopen.” Many arts and science colleges have not joined the protest because their management doesn’t want to get involved in this issue. As of now, most students, along with K-Town and the political fraternity, in Tamil Nadu stand united against the violation of human rights in Sri Lanka.
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