The ministry is concerned that educational activity should not suffer and is at hand to offer whatever help is needed.
The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry is trying to keep a watchful eye on the protests happening across several campuses in the country even as it feels that being autonomous, the institutions should be able to take the right decisions.
Following that passage of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act in Parliament, there were protests in Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University. The violence that followed, led to police action against the protesters; the cops even entered the campus.
This led to protests in other places and universities.
According to a senior HRD official, the people at the helm of varsities are experienced educationists and administrators and should be able to take the right decisions.
The ministry is however concerned that educational activity should not suffer and is at hand to offer whatever help is needed, the official said.
On Monday, HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank had issued an appeal to students to maintain calm and assured that the government will not do anything which is not in the interests of the country.
In a message on Twitter, Nishank asked students to not fall prey to rumours and cautioned that there were people who wanted to create trouble.
An appeal was also issued by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the people to maintain peace and brotherhood.
But the task of bringing normalcy doesn’t seem easy.
Scenes of men in khaki raining blows on students in the south Delhi varsity have not gone down well with many youngsters in other campuses as well.
Apart from Jamia there was police action in Aligarh Muslim University as well. And this comes at a time when another premier University, the JNU, has been on the boil over a hostel fee hike.
Last week witnessed the transfer of R Subrahmanyam, secretary higher education to the social justice department. Subrahmanyam was leading the ministry’s efforts to broker a truce between the students and the administration.
In the past few years, the HRD ministry under various ministers, had a tough time dealing with student protests.
The death of Rohith Vemula during the first term of the Modi government when Smriti Irani was the HRD minister had led to a nationwide angst.
Protests in JNU had also hogged limelight and ultimately led to emergence of student leaders like Kanahaiyya Kumar and Umar Khalid.
Kumar later even contested the Lok Sabha elections though he was unsuccessful.
In the past also student politics has had a definitive effect on Indian politics.
The mandal agitation had found supporters as well as those who opposed reservations on campuses.
The Asom Gana Parishad which went on to form the government in Assam also had its roots in student protests.
The Bihar movement led by Jay Prakash Narayan also had an active participation from among the students.