Doctoral researchers from across the state of Karnataka protested today at the Maurya circle in Bangalore demanding for their long due scholarship. Over seven hundred Other Backward Castes (OBC) students from eleven universities and four agricultural universities have not received their monthly scholarship for the last thirteen months.
The protesting OBC researchers sat down on the road in front of the Gandhi statue in the Maurya circle and raised slogans like, ‘we want justice’ and ‘we want our fellowship’. Speaking at the protest a research scholar explained that the various Universities in the state were to provide monthly scholarships of Rupees five thousand. In 2018 the amount was doubled and the researchers were to receive a scholarship worth ten thousand rupees every month. However the researchers haven’t been receiving any scholarship from December 2019. He also said, ‘we received the scholarship only till November 2019’.
The researchers shared that not receiving scholarships was negatively impacting the quality of the research being produced. They also stated that it was getting difficult to take care of their everyday life, as many are not able to pay their rents and even the bills of the hostel mess and their semester fees. Speaking to the media the researchers also pointed out that lack of scholarship is forcing some of them to contemplate on discontinuing from the PhD.
Speaking to Gauri Lankesh News, a PhD researcher from Kuvempu University said that they had written letters to Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, Opposition Leader Siddaramaiah, Backward Classes Welfare Department Minister Kota Srinivasa Poojary and the Commissioner of the Department. The researchers had posted more than two hundred appeals for the release of the scholarship. However according to this researcher there has been no response from any authorities. He said, ‘PA of Mr. Poojary had told us that he would the minister would visit the protest site during the lunch break in the assembly. Now the PA phone is switched now and it is five in the evening. I don’t think he is coming.’
A delegation of five researchers were however invited by the Backward Classes Commission to speak with the commissioner Vasanth Kumar. The delegation was informed that the government has no money to pay the students. The commissioner reportedly told the delegation that it is only when the government would release money that they can clear all the dues. ‘They told us that they could pay the dues of only six months and not for all the thirteen months. They also said that they wouldn’t be telling us by when we would receive the money. We have given them time till February 25, 2021. We would continue our protest after this deadline,’ explained the researcher to Gauri Lankesh News.