Students at the Kerala State Government’s Arts College and University have demanded that the state government, in order to provide adequate education to students in their areas, should provide them with toilets, washrooms, sanitary facilities, a school and a library.
The students, who are protesting against the fact that their colleges do not have toilets, were joined by the union home minister M Venkaiah Naidu.
The protest, which began on Sunday, was organised by the Kerala Women’s Association for Women, which has more than 1,000 members.
It was called to protest against a proposal by the government to make girls in Kerala’s five colleges (Dharmabattom, Srikaganga and Kumbakonam) the only students allowed to take part in examinations, with the government saying that this would improve their academic performance.
The college students want the government, through an executive order, to make their colleges fully equipped to accommodate girls.
“Our colleges should be given proper facilities.
It’s not only about providing facilities but also ensuring that we are not deprived of our right of education,” said Sivagangam student Abhishek Kumar, who is among the protesters.
Kumar’s father, who lives in the neighbouring state of Karnataka, said he had already received a letter from the ministry of education on Saturday requesting him to join the protests.
“The letter came after the minister had said that he would look into this issue and would decide on the best course of action.
It says, ‘We will look into it and give you a reply soon,'” Kumar told The Indian Express.
Kerala’s Education Minister J K Sathasivam said the government was taking a holistic view on the issue.
“We are in touch with all the stakeholders and we are also consulting the experts on this,” he said.
“It’s important that we take the right decision and we have to ensure that the issue is dealt with quickly,” Sathassivam added.
Krishna Gandhi, President of the Kerala All India Students Association, said, “We demand that the education minister takes into account the needs of the women and children of the state and that the government does not take away their right to education.
We will continue our protest to ensure adequate facilities to all women students.”
The government’s statement on the matter came in the wake of the protests by a group of female students at the State Government University of Kumbapuram, which are demanding that they be allowed to participate in examinations.
A senior government official, who asked not to be named, told The Hindu that the students were being asked to sign a petition, which is not binding, and was being sent to the ministry for final approval.
“When we send the petition to the minister, it’s a non-binding one.
We do not know what they are going to say,” he added.
According to the official, there is no issue in allowing students to participate as they were already being enrolled in classes.
The women students are not asking the government for a change in policy.
“They are asking for a better education and are not protesting against any part of the education system.
They want to have access to toilets and toilets to wash,” he noted.
“What is happening in the State government is unacceptable,” said the official.
Kumbapuruam University student Jitender Gupta, who attended the protest, said that the situation was “unfortunate”.
“If the government wanted to improve the educational system, it should take steps to provide better facilities.
However, they are asking the students to sign this petition and it is binding,” he told The Telegraph.