After 10 days of strike, AIIMS agrees to provide hostels for optometry students

After a 10-day strike by optometry students at AIIMS – and an indefinite hunger strike by six students starting Monday – the hospital administration has agreed to their demands for a hostel.

Paramedic students had gone on strike after the death of first-year optometry student Abhishek Malviya. The student died on August 13 after suffering from Covid and swine flu at his residence in Mahipalpur, the AIIMS administration said. His classmates, however, alleged that Malviya would not have lost his life had he been a student in a hostel, as he could have been provided with an ambulance – which they claimed the hospital had denied him . The hospital declined to comment on the complaint.

On Monday evening, the AIIMS Administration together with the Head of PR Center Dr. JS Tityal, Dean (Academics) Subrata Sinha, Hostel Superintendent Sandeep Aggrawal and Registrar Dr. Sanjeev Lalwani held a meeting with representatives of student associations to solve the problem. It was decided that students would be allocated triple rooms upon payment on campus. Those on the waiting list will also have the option of such accommodation at the National Cancer Institute Hospital in Jhajjar, with the possibility of free transport to the main campus. This will be implemented in 15 days, according to the minutes of the meeting. The minutes also indicate that demonstration notices to students will be withdrawn and that attendance during the strike period will be compensated with overtime work.

The students, as they began their hunger strike, said that if anything happened to them, the administration would be held responsible. “This is to let the public know that for 9 days, we, the paramedical students, have been on a 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 strike from the indefinite hunger until our demands are secured and granted,” a press release read.

Anurag Kumar, who was part of the strike, said: “Nursing students are housed in hostels from day one. But no hostel accommodation is provided for a paramedical optometry, MTR x-ray or operating room student. Our request is very simple – welcoming facilities for freshmen and freedom from discrimination by those responsible for the administration of AIIMS.