Even as student polls’ date is yet to be finalised, widespread violence was witnessed on the Panjab University campus on Thursday. Though no one was seriously injured, at least three vehicles were damaged and subsequently two FIRs registered. The number of FIRs in the run up to the polls this year has gone up to 11.
The claims of the university administration over security arrangements fell flat as three vehicles driven by leaders and supporters of National Students Union of India (NSUI) were damaged on the campus. The attackers freely used iron rods, sickles and wooden sticks, but the occupants of the vehicles escaped only with minor injuries. The Thursday violence was an outcome of a spat between the members of Gandhi Group Student Union (GGSU) and NSUI late on Wednesday. The incident had been brought to the notice of the authorities and a meeting between the members of both the factions was to take place on Thursday to resolve the issue.
According to the eyewitnesses, the attackers (about 25 in number) entered the campus in three vehicles around 1 pm, brandishing batons and rods. They stopped near hostel number 4 where girls supporting NSUI were protesting. The attackers’ target was the car of NSUI leader Manoj Lubana, who saved his life by fleeing from the spot.
Speaking to HT, Simran, one of the protesting girls, said, “We were sitting outside the hostel gate, when suddenly an Toyota Innova turned up and its occupants smashed Lubana’s car with batons, sickles and rods. The attackers, whom we identify as GGSU members, then came rushing towards Lubana with rods and sickles in hands. Lubana, however, was lucky to escape in time. The attackers also passed obscene remarks and gestures.”
Two other vehicles carrying NSUI stickers were also smashed and NSUI campus president Sanjeev Billa sustained minor injuries. As the attackers had a free run on the campus, the varsity security played mute spectators, giving them time to flee the campus from gate number 3. Later, the police were informed and two FIRs were registered — one on the complaint of Sanjeev Billa and other on the complaint of Simran.
TWO FIRs REGISTERED
On the complaint of Sanjeev Billa those booked are Sehajpal, Naval, Aman Kamboj, Harman Virk, Armaan Cheema, Lovely, Gaganpreet Singh Chatha, Shanky Dhiman and Anterdeep Hundal. All of them have been booked under sections 147, 148, 149, 323, 506, 341 of the IPC. Those booked on the complaint of Simran include Frainy Ahuja, Captain, Sehajpal, Naval, Aman Kang and Anterdeep, all under section 294 of the IPC.
PU FAILS TO DEFINE POLICE ROLE
The police authorities say that they had written to the PU authorities three days back, asking them to make clear what they wanted from the police during the student council elections. The PU authorities reportedly didn’t respond. Jatinder Grover from PU said, “We have been given some points by the police and we are working on them. It is not possible to ban entry of all outsiders on the campus.” The police asked the varsity authorities to keep a check on hostel boundaries, gates and outsiders.