A day after a 50-year-old PhD scholar, who is also a Buddhist monk, staged an overnight sit-in protest for admission at a University of Mumbai (MU) hostel, the university has agreed to provide temporary accommodation to the student until the issue is resolved.
The university authorities had refused to enrol Rajesh Balkhande, who adopted Bhadant Vimamsa name after becoming a monk, in hostel, citing the rules limiting accommodation to the PhD scholars under 35. On Friday, he staged a sit-in protest against the restriction at varsity's Kalina campus.
On Saturday, Vimamsa was called for a meeting with hostel authorities and admission officials, who provided him with a temporary accommodation at an audio-visual (AV) room on campus, with a promise of providing a permanent place later.
Vimamsa had joined the varsity as a research scholar in 2010, but dropped out in 2017 to go to Myanmar and become a monk. "I now want to continue my PhD and study Buddhist Studies. But when I reached out to MU, I found out that I had Rs. 1 lakh in unpaid fee because I never cancelled my PhD registration. I have requested the university to pay my dues gradually," he said.
While the university accepted this request, it denied Vimamsa accommodation due to his age. The university dorm rooms are usually during the admission period and the authorities couldn't accommodate him in the middle of the academic year
"It is a small issue, there was no need for this to become a big concern. Why couldn't the authorities grant me a place to stay yesterday, the way they did it today," asked the monk.
The Free Press Journal also talked with the university officials about this incident.
A university official revealed, "He arrived during the mid-term, and by that time, all the seats had already been allocated. Additionally, our university has an age limit of 35 years for Ph.D. candidates. We're currently reviewing his situation, but his admission and hostel room placement are not confirmed at this point. We will proceed in accordance with the university's rules. In the meantime, we have provided him with temporary accommodation."