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HRD Minister stuck inside auditorium for over 6 hours as JNU students protest

Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ left the premises around 4.15 p.m.

Union Human Resource Development Minister Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ was stuck inside the AICTE auditorium here for over six hours on Monday as protests by JNU students escalated, forcing him to cancel two events later in the day.

Mr. Pokhriyal, along with Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, had gone to All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) to attend the Jawaharlal Nehru University’s third convocation. While Mr. Naidu left the premises before the protest escalated, Mr. Pokhriyal had to stay inside.

“He is inside. But the situation has been handled. The minister has spoken to JNUSU president and assured their demands will be addressed,” a senior HRD Ministry official had said.

The minister left the AICTE premises around 4.15 p.m. and had to cancel two events scheduled at the Shastri Bhawan after the convocation.

Hundreds of students gathered outside the AICTE headquarters protesting against hostel fee hike. Students wanted to march towards the ACITE premises where Mr. Naidu was addressing the university’s convocation at an auditorium.

The gates of the AICTE, around 3 km from the JNU, were locked and the security personnel were stationed in and outside the premises in wake of the protests that started in the morning.

Barricades were placed outside the north and west gates of the JNU campus, as well as on the route between the AICTE auditorium and the JNU at Baba Balaknath Marg, near the traffic signal, underneath the flyover and near the venue, an officer said.

But students broke these blockades and marched towards the venue around 11.30 a.m. The police had to use water cannons to disperse the protesters and some of them were detained.

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