Even after a year, PU lacks mechanism to deal with violence in student politics

  • Surender Sharma, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Aug 11, 2014 13:08 IST

Even after the Panjab University (PU) saw widespread hooliganism, violence and poll violations during the student council polls in September, 2013, the university authorities have still not been able to come up with a mechanism to deal with it even after an year.

In spite of the student political parties violating the university orders every day, the officials are finding it hard to tackle.

Be it a ban on car rallies, pasting of posters on designated sites, rallies without outsiders support or indulgence in violence, the university records some or the other case of violation every day. Notices for the same are issued to the parties, but action against them is something that is rarely taken by the PU authorities.

The situation has become so grave that vice-chancellor AK Grover, recently in an interaction with the journalists, admitted that they could hardly do anything.

“After PU was ranked the number 1 university in the country by an international agency, the top officials laid emphasis, in almost all the fields, on how they could retain the position, apart from discussing the major issue of student politics,” an official commented, adding that ahead of the polls the authorities were pretending to be on their toes and were also threatening them (parties) to not to hold the election.

Experts said banning of election was no solution, but there were many other things, which the university could have done. “They should strictly deal with the violators. Universities are basic learning ground for our future political leaders. So, question of banning it, does not arise,” said, Surjit Singh Swaich, a Punjab and Haryana High Court lawyer, who deals with election petitions.

Experts, to whom the Hindustan Times spoke to, said there was need for clear guidelines, which the student political parties would follow, and if there were any violators, the authorities should sternly deal with them. They added that another thing that was important was that university’s approach of interacting with students, only at the time of elections, should be done away with. They required more attention.

“PU needs to have a system that is transparent, where actions are swift and officials do not succumb to any political pressure,” told Satya Pal Jain, another expert and lawyer on election related issues.

DU CEO’s call on delhi university politics

Delhi University (DU) chief election officer (CEO) DS Rawat, on student council polls in the universitysaid: In the past, the Delhi University Students Union polls also witnessed violence and violations by the student political parties, but in the recent three-four years, they had been able to conduct elections in a peaceful manner.

It was probably in 2009 or 2010, when most candidates were disqualified by election committee for violations and those who got elected came anonymously.

Since then, the student parties have realised that if they were found violating the poll code, their candidates would be disqualified. Hence, no major violations are reported.

We have installed CCTVs in our colleges and at the north campus to keep a check on the student activities. We have also appointed videographers teams to check the violations.

There is also a Defacement Act in place, due to which FIR is registered automatically.

I do not recall in recent years that we got a complaint from any college, where teacher had to sit outside as students were campaigning or they barged into classes.

They are not allowed to enter the classroom if the teacher is present.

Only those candidates and their supporters enter campuses, who have I-cards displayed and no outsiders are allowed. If some outsider is seen,
they are handed over to the police.

Most importantly, apart from Lyngdoh guidelines, we have our own guidelines in place to book violators.

View from JNU Delhi Students Union Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi Students Union (2012) president Sucheta De said the university had vibrant student culture and engagement of students in politics was very high.

The role of administration in conducting polls is limited. The different schools elect 30-member-election committee, which further conducts election of the student union. The members are elected, who are politically partisan.

There is least scope for the political parties in power to use muscle and money in elections. Those, who try to use it, are dispelled.

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