KATHMANDU, Feb 16: A cabinet meeting on Wednesday announced to break the padlocks at various Tribhuvan University-affiliated colleges before the free students union (FSU) elections.
On January 26, TU directed the administrations of various colleges to stop admissions from January 27. Since then the All Nepal National Independent Student union (Revolutionary), the student wing of Netra Bikram Chand led CPN Maoist, and a few other student unions have launched protests in TU-affiliated colleges across the country, accusing the administration of not involving them in the decision making. They have also accused the college administration of being biased against some student unions. The new age bar set by TU for candidacy in FSU elections is another reason behind the protests.
The agitating student unions have claimed that the decision violates the right of many young students to education. “We are protesting for the rights of those students who have been deprived of their right to education,” said Dipendra Gautam, member of ANNISU-R, Shanker Dev Campus. He further informed Republica that they won’t be taking part in the elections until the date is postponed and their demands are addressed. “The college administration may remove the padlock but it can’t stop us from hitting the streets with violent protests,” Gautam added.
The 42nd senate of the government declared the FSU election after ten years but still there have been a lot of obstructions and uncertainties in the process. Earlier in 2012, 2013 and 2014 also TU had announced the FSU elections but the elections could not be held due to vandalism, protests and other obstructions from various student unions.
As Wednesday’s cabinet meeting has directed the college administrations to break the padlocks from Thursday, a number of other student unions seemed hopeful about the elections to take place on February 25. “There have been no conspiracies against any student union. These are all baseless accusations on the administration,” said Tapendra Jung Shahi, chairperson of the student wing of CPN-UML at Ratna Rajya Campus. “The decision of the government has come as a great relief for us and we are hopeful that the elections will be held on the scheduled date,” Shahi added.
Although some student unions have already agreed to remove the padlocks, some of them are not ready to back out yet.