The death of a post graduate student who was allegedly part of the ongoing protest and hunger strike has sent shock waves down at the Azim Premji University in Bengaluru.
On Saturday, several students who are on protest took to social media platforms to condole the death of Abhijit Shinde, a student at the varsity collapsed and died on premises.
On condition of anonymity, a researcher here said that Abhijit joined the protest on February 23 and then attended Unmukt- the college fest of the University later in the day. While dancing he suffered severe dehydration and attempts were made to resuscitate him but in vain.
Students of the varsity are on a hunger strike since February 22 over the collection of shuttle fees, which they claim is unreasonably high. The varsity, however, in a statement has rebutted stating that students were well aware of this at the time of admissions.
What began as a college protest went on to be a strike on campus and an overnight stay. Students took to a hunger strike after attempts to have the fee revoked by approaching the registrar and vice chancellor was inconclusive.
In a statement condemning the incident, the Akhila Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishath placed the blame on APU management. “ABVP demands that the University administration should be held responsible for the fatalities within the campus caused by its life throttling policies. Further, ABVP demands that judicial- magisterial investigation including post mortem etc. be done thoroughly in the matter.
“Further, the perpetrators should not be allowed to roam scott- free and be brought to justice. The students concerns must be addressed at the earliest and policies which can cause pejorative impact should be implemented after actively seeking students advice,” commented Karnataka office Secretary of the ABVP Basavarj Doni.
Responding to EducationWorld, APU however denied that there was a connection between the students’ hunger strike and Abhijit’s death.
A spokesperson from the varsity said “We are shocked and deeply saddened by the unfortunate demise of a student at the University campus. The student, while participating in the opening event of the annual student festival, collapsed and, despite immediate medical help could not be saved. Our hearts go out to his family and friends who knew and loved him. We are doing everything possible to support his immediate family at this time of grief. The deceased student was not on hunger strike on February 23, Thursday or February 24, Friday. We request that we respect the family’s privacy during this time.”
Yet again, APU, in its response said that action will be taken against students for the “highly disruptive and intimidatory” protests.
“When the student collapsed while performing at the event, the campus doctor attended on him immediately and found no pulse; he was shifted to the nearest hospital immediately in an ambulance. He was administered Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Oxygen in the ambulance. The doctors at the hospital also tried reviving him, even though they didn’t detect a heart signal. So, he was declared dead on arrival. When the student collapsed while performing at the event, the campus doctor attended on him immediately and found no pulse; he was shifted to the nearest hospital immediately in an ambulance. He was administered Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Oxygen in the ambulance. The doctors at the hospital also tried reviving him, even though they didn’t detect a heart signal. So, he was declared dead on arrival,” a statement from the varsity read.
The cause of death is yet to be ascertained.