SC/ST students, activists of Meerut protest against changed scholarship rules

Students, members of Bhim Army and other organisations working for the welfare of people from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes took out a march in Meerut on Saturday to protest against the UP government’s recent order according to which SC/ST students will have to score above 60% marks to avail of scholarships. The march was, however, halted soon after starting from the Chaudhary Charan Singh University campus, as it did not have the required permission.

As per the new norms, students of SC/ ST communities will get scholarships only if they secure at least 60% marks. Earlier, there was no percentage limit for scholarship for these students.

Participants of the ‘Chhatra Adhikaar’ march said that the new rules would create a huge hindrance in the development of the backward classes.

They also criticised how the police stopped the march at the Jail Chungi Chowraha instead of letting it proceed till Meerut Kutchery, as was planned.

“Students had to hand over the memorandum to additional city magistrate Chandresh Kumar at the Jail Chungi Chowraha itself. They were given an assurance that their demands would be looked into after which the protest was called off,” said Susheel Gautam, founder, Blue Panther — an organisation that works for the welfare of people from the Scheduled Castes.

Gautam also said that the protesters had informed the local authorities about the march in advance but were denied permission nevertheless. “However, we still had to register our protest and put forward our demands. So, we went ahead with the march,” he said.

Anand Prakash Siddharth, a Dalit student of the university, said, “All the students protesting here belong to very poor families. With the help of scholarships, we are able to complete our studies and pursue the careers we wanted. But now, our progress will be impacted.”

Another student, Kushwinder Pratap, said, “If this order is not dismissed, we will organise protests at different tehsils of Meerut from October 22 to October 30.”

He said members of the community had also reached out to Governor Anandiben Patel and district magistrate Anil Dhingra but “nothing satisfactory” was achieved.

Satish Prakash, associate professor of Meerut College, also took part in the march.

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