In order to rein in student bodies and to put an end to the increasing number of clashes on its campus, Panjab University is now mulling giving them recognition for university student council elections.
The university calender does not recognise student parties. with elections for its student council conducted for individual candidates, even while parties prop up their own candidates and openly campaign for them. If PU recognises parties for elections, they would be allotted their own symbols.
“It is a long process. We will have to make amendments in the university rule book. But time has come for a long-term move to make student politics more accountable,” said a top official, not wishing to be named.
When contacted, dean, student welfare (DSW), Navdeep Goyal, admitted that the spurt in violence among student bodies had left the authorities worried.
“We are looking at all our options. We want elections to be held, but not at the cost of the academic environment. It is very difficult to say anything at this point of time. A single incident of violence reduces the chances of holding elections,” said Goyal.
Recently, PU has witnessed some back-to-back clashes: a skirmish between Student Organisation of India (SOI) and Panjab University Student Council (PUSU) last month left seven, including PU’s chief security officer Jatinder Grover, injured. Officials said that with this move, the university can hold student bodies accountable, even debarring those involved in such violence from contesting elections.
“So far, since the contest was officially between individuals, action could be taken against that person alone. Through this move, we will be able to bring more accountability in student parties,” an official said.
In September 2013, post-election violence at PU lasted for several days after several student bodies accused the National Students Union of India (NSUI), which won the presidential post, of resorting to unfair means. Following this, PU was forced to appoint a committee to probe into the allegations.
Sources said that while the committee found a number of student leaders resorting to unfair means, they could not pin responsibility because candidates contested in their individual capacity.