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Delhi University students resort to 'civil disobedience' over high rent

PTI 06 Nov 2014, 20:12:27 PM IST

New Delhi:  Tenants, mostly students, have decided to move a ‘civil disobedience movement' demanding implementation of room rent control law for affordable accommodation in areas near the Delhi University campus as there is shortage of hostel facilities in colleges here.  

The protesters, along with their supporters, comprising mainly students from Christian Colony, Mukherjee Nagar and neighbouring areas, have decided to stop paying rent, which they claimed was sky-rocketing, and demanded implementation of Delhi Room Rent Control Act, 1995 to check the hike.  

“If the Act is not implemented, we have decided to boycott paying the rent. Gandhiji used to boycott on the issues he did not feel correct. We will follow the path of the Father of Nation,” said Parveen Singh, convener of the group of protesters.

“What we want is the implementation of the Act. We do not want anything new. All we demand is the implementation and enforcement of the law that has already been made,” he said.  

Singh has also been staging a hunger strike with six others under the banner of ‘Right to Accommodation' in front of Maurice Nagar police station since October 31. Two of the group, Mohammed Adil and Manish Bhartiya were shifted to a hospital after they fainted on the fifth day of their protest.  

He said that they were students who had come from distant parts of the country and their earnings did not match the rising incomes of people in Delhi, and sought a check on sky-rocketing rates of house rent.

The Delhi Rent Control Act states that the tariffs could be checked, he said. The group maintained that whatever the court decides as maximum rent, they would accept that. “We will accept what the law decides for us, but we suggest it should be justified.”

The group has organised debates, carried out processions, candle marches around the north campus of the university and nearby neighbourhoods to raise awareness and garner more support for their ‘civil disobedience movement'.  

Claiming that they were not given rent receipts or agreements, Singh also criticised the income tax department for “sleeping” over the issue.

“We are not given any receipt. There is no rent agreement, there is no receipt for the rent and all the people who live here do not pay any income tax for this... don't know where the income tax authority is sleeping. This is something worth notice,” he said.