A students’ protest over ‘poor marks’ took an ugly turn when a 21-year-old set herself on fire at a Gurgaon college on Monday.
The second-year student of Government Girls College in Sector 14, Pinky Chauhan, suffered 70% burns and was rushed to the Civil hospital in Gurgaon. She was referred to Safdarjung Hospital where her condition was reported to be critical.
Angry students later vandalised the principal’s office and damaged vehicles inside the premises. They demanded immediate suspension of the principal.
The students had been protesting outside the college since Saturday. They said Maharishi Dayanand University (MDU), to which the college is affiliated, awarded poor marks to students in mathematics, physics and English in their semester 4 examinations.
They alleged that many students who had appeared in their exams were surprisingly marked absent.
According to students, Chauhan, a BSc student, was chosen to lead the protest on Saturday. She was called in by the principal and other staff who allegedly threatened to suspend her and bar admission in any college for the next five years.
“The principal threatened to ruin her career. She had passed in all subjects and was standing in solidarity with us. We were told on Monday morning that students with incorrect marks will be taken to MDU in a bus but there was no preparation from the college’s side,” said a 2nd-year BSc student.
However, Chauhan’s uncle, Vinay Pal, said she had failed in one subject.
The students alleged that principal Usha Malik had misbehaved with the girls in the past and had implemented a dress code.
Malik, who refused to comment, had been relieved of her duties and Gianender Singh was given charge.
The university’s Controller of Examinations, BS Sindhu, visited the college and spoke to the students. “I will ensure that all issues of the students are addressed. We will get answersheets from Rohtak and get them rechecked here. We are willing to show the copies to the students,” Sindhu said.
Gurgaon police commissioner Alok Mittal said a case was being registered against college staff on the girl’s statement.