Students' fury turned to fire, literally, at National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), SAS Nagar, in the early hours of Saturday when a mob burnt director KK Bhutani's car parked on campus.
Windowpanes of another car were smashed, while the students also damaged the institute's secretariat building. Police said NIPER security supervisor Ranbir Singh Kanwar called them around 2.30 am, and they rushed to the spot to control the situation.
A case was registered against unidentified persons on gate supervisor Nagar Singh's statement under sections dealing with rioting and damage to public property. Contacted, director KK Bhutani said he was in New Delhi had been told about the incident; he refused to say more.
The students have been demanding Bhutani's ouster over the removal of three NIPER faculty members -- Dr Nilanjan Roy, Dr Neeraj Kumar and Dr Parikshit Bansal - who were allegedly thrown out because they raised their voice against corruption at the institute.
To discuss the demand of Bhutani's removal, on Friday around 60 students had gone to the office of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi, where a meeting of the board of governors (BOG) of the institute was being held. They demanded a thorough probe into corruption at NIPER.
One of the students, Mukul, who had also gone to New Delhi, said that they met board chairman Dr VM Katoch, who reportedly said he was not aware of the last two months' protest and refused to accept the students' plea.
The students have been continuously protesting since last month after the sacking of an assistant professor and even sat on indefinite hunger strike in April after which a panel led by Shambhu Kallolikar, joint secretary, union ministry of pharmaceuticals, met them and promised to forward their concern to higher authorities.
Apart from director Bhutani's resignation, other demands include a permanent placement officer as the students say the placement percentage is on the decline; UGC recognition of their degrees; proper research and medical facilities; new hostels for girls and better student-faculty ratio. Half the faculty posts are lying vacant as of now, the students stress.
What's the matter
The students' main demand is director KK Bhutani's resignation for his alleged corrupt practices
Though interviews for a permanent director were held in December, result is not out
The trigger for protest two months ago was ouster of a teacher "for exposing Bhutani's corruption"
Other demands include permanent placement officer for more job opportunities