Chaos after two PU gates blocked; staff visitors, teachers at the receiving end | punjab$chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Chaos after two PU gates blocked; staff visitors, teachers at the receiving end

Visitors to Panjab University (PU), students and staff were inconvenienced and held hostage wherever they were as around 200 members of the Students For Society (SFS) blocked gate number 1 (facing Sector 15) and gate number 2 (facing the PGIMER) for over three hours on Wednesday. The blockade began at 10am and was lifted around 2pm.

punjab Updated: Oct 06, 2016 12:30 IST
HT Correspondent
Cops trying to control students at gate number 1 after the V-C failed to convince them to end the blockade.
Cops trying to control students at gate number 1 after the V-C failed to convince them to end the blockade. (Karun Sharma/HT Photo)

Visitors to Panjab University (PU), students and staff were inconvenienced and held hostage wherever they were as around 200 members of the Students For Society (SFS) blocked gate number 1 (facing Sector 15) and gate number 2 (facing the PGIMER) for over three hours on Wednesday. The blockade began at 10am and was lifted around 2pm.

The protesters were demanding rollback of the recently announced examination fee hike and the cancellation of cases registered against 20 of their ilk around a fortnight back.

Meanwhile, the traffic wanting to enter or exit the university was diverted to gate number 3 — leading to chaos and inconvenience for students and teachers.

Police watched, helpless

The police were present in riot-control gear but didn’t intervene to lift the blockade. The protest started outside the vice-chancellor’s office and initially blocked traffic on the T-point near the campus market for an hour.

“We have been protesting outside the V-C office, but no one has even bothered to listen to our demands. So, we decided to block traffic. Instead of resolving the issue, we received threats from PU officials.

A fire tender was also called to fire water cannons to disperse us. Cops put on their riot-gear to intimidate us,” said SFS president Damanpreet.

A riot squad at gate number 2 did not intervene. (Karun Sharma/HT Photo)

“The V-C had gone to pacify them but they did not listen. Students have the right to protest if there is fee hike. However, the varsity cannot take back its decision because of a fund crunch. It is wrong to close the gates,” said dean students welfare (DSW) Navdeep Goyal.

“People did face inconvenience, but students boycotted classes because their right to education is being snatched. If the examination fee is hiked, a large section of students will have to leave college,” the SFS president claimed, adding that the varsity had been shifting the financial burden on to the students.

“The Modi government has been slashing the education budget,” he claimed. The varsity had taken a decision to hike examination fee by 30.4% in July to generate about `35 crore. The fourth meeting of think tank, formed to suggest measures to generate varsity’s revenue, on July 9, had said that funds for varsity could be generated only by “examination fee and not tuition fee”.

PU chief security officer Jatinder Grover said, “The V-C went to speak to students at gates 1 and 2 but they did not end the protest. If students do it again, we will take disciplinary action.”