Indian police baton charge students over fee protests

2019-11-18 21:16
Security personnel hold a Jawaharlal Nehru University  student during a students protest against accommodation fee hike, as security measures have been reinforced from JNU campus along the road to the march protest, in New Delhi. (AFP)

Security personnel hold a Jawaharlal Nehru University student during a students protest against accommodation fee hike, as security measures have been reinforced from JNU campus along the road to the march protest, in New Delhi. (AFP)

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Indian police fought street battles in New Delhi on Monday with thousands of students who stepped up protests over fee increases at one of the country's top universities.

Police baton charged some groups of demonstrators and media reports said dozens of students from Jawaharlal Nehru University were detained.

The university is one of India's most prestigious and counts top politicians including Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and this year's Nobel economics prize winner Abhijit Banerjee among past students.

Defying a ban on groups of more than four people, demonstrators started a march from the university to the parliament as part of their action against higher costs for accommodation as well as curfews and other restrictions on campus.

They broke through police barricades and police had to close three metro stations because of the troubles, which first erupted last week when police fired water cannon on the students.

While the government said it had created a three-member panel to hold talks with the students, the demonstrators have said they will not stop their action until the fee hike is rescinded.

"We will not end the protest till the police release the students who have been detained," added one protester, who only gave his name as Jitendra.

Teachers at the university have voiced concern over the way the government and police were handling what they called "peaceful" protests.

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