After 10 days of strike by optometry students at AIIMS — and an indefinite hunger strike by six students beginning Monday — the hospital administration has agreed to their demands of a hostel facility.
Paramedical students had gone on strike post the death of first-year optometry student Abhishek Malviya. The student died on August 13 after suffering from Covid and swine flu at his Mahipalpur residence, said the AIIMS administration. His fellow students, however, alleged that Malviya would not have lost his life if he was a hostel student as he could have been provided an ambulance — which they claimed the hospital had denied to him. The hospital refused to comment on the claim.
On Monday evening, the AIIMS administration along with R P Centre chief Dr J S Tityal, Dean (Academics) Subrata Sinha, Hostel Superintendent Sandeep Aggrawal, and registrar Dr Sanjeev Lalwani held a meeting with student’s association representatives to resolve the issue. It was decided that students will be allotted triple-sharing rooms on a payment basis on campus. Those on the waiting list will also be given the option of such accommodation at the hospital’s National Cancer Institute in Jhajjar, with the facility for free transport to the main campus. This will be implemented in 15 days, as per the minutes of the meeting. The minutes also said showcause notices to students will be withdrawn, and attendance for the period of strike will be compensated by extra working hours.
The students, while starting their hunger strike, had said if anything happened to them, the administration will be held responsible. “This is to bring into public notice that for the last 9 days, we, the paramedical students, are on a relay hunger strike. However, AIIMS administration is not ready to give assurance of our demands, therefore, six students namely: Azad Meena, Kamlesh Yadav, Preeti Vardhan, Neha Rai, Dileep Kumar Jat and Devraj are going on an indefinite hunger strike till our demands are assured and accepted,” a press release said.
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Anurag Kumar, who was part of the strike, said: “Nursing students get hostel accommodation from the very first day. But no hostel accommodation is provided to any paramedical student from optometry, MTR radiography or operation theatre. Our demand is very simple —hostel facilities for first-year students and freedom from discrimination by AIIMS administration officials.”