How to prevent discrimination of students from the Northeast region on university campus in south India? The Bangalore University seems to have found a simple answer – build a separate hostel for them and isolate the students from the rest.
Unfortunately the plan has backfired, with the Northeast students refusing to move into the hostel and contending that it will further alienate them within the university.
The plan for a separate hostel was mooted following alleged attacks on students last year in Bangalore.
Ghetto? Bangalore University wants a separate hostel for N-E students
According to Bangalore University Vice-Chancellor B Thimme Gowda, the new hostel will be equipped with the latest security features, including CCTV camera, guards, and restricted visit by others. But the students of the Northeast states are of the view that this could further isolate them in the university campus.
At present, there are five different hostels at the Jnanabharathi campus of Bangalore for students of postgraduate, law, general students, ladies and PhD.
The hostel for the Northeast students will be the sixth such hostel.
"We cannot promote national integration by isolating students. In fact, we should be encouraged to spend more time with students from the rest of the country. It will be good if there is a mix of students from all regions at the hostel," said Isaac Raising, a students' leader from Manipur.
According to Albert Muvaiah, another students' leader from Mizoram, the separate hostel for Northeast students could give them an "elitist tag" in the Bangalore University campus.
"There is already some kind of negative feeling towards us because the local students believe that we are being given preferential treatment by the University. This gap between the local students and Northeast students cannot be bridged through this hostel," he contended.
Alienating: The proposed hostel will be equipped with latest security features
Apparently, the plan for a separate hostel was put on fast-track basis following the tragic death of Nido Taniam (from Arunachal Pradesh) in New Delhi recently.
The Bangalore University Syndicate will shortly take a decision on the fate of the new hostel, as the authorities are engaging the students from the North East region.