Police brought out about 20 officials from the administrative block of Punjabi University around 10.30pm on Wednesday, nearly six hours after they were locked in by 200 contractual staff members demanding regularisation of services. The protest ended an hour after that.
The administrative block has offices of the dean, academics, and registrar besides several deputy registrars.
The hostage-like situation began around 4pm when more than 150 non-clerical contractual staff and nearly 50 contractual teachers of the university’s constituent colleges locked the administrative block from inside, confining the university’s top functionaries and their staff to their rooms.
Registrar Davinder Singh, dean (faculty of law) Manjit Singh Nijjar and dean (academics) Gurnam Singh were confined to their offices along with their staff members as the protesters did not allow them to leave, and demanded that a notification for job regularisation be released first.
SP (city) Satbir Atwal and DSP (city) Hans Raj urged the protesters to talk to the officials but in vain. Around 10.30 pm, a posse of policemen managed to get the university staff out from a rear window in the administrative block. Vice-chancellor Jaspal Singh is at Patna to attend the 350th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Gobind Singh.
Apprehending a police crackdown, the protesters came out of the building around 11.30 pm after getting the assurance that no action would be taken against them. They dispersed after handing over a memorandum to SDM Pooja Syal.
Trigger and the code
The university contractual staff were expecting the regularisation of their services after the Punjab government’s recent notification. A protester said that during Monday’s meeting with the registrar, they were assured that their jobs would be regularised in a day or two. On Wednesday, however, the university did not issue the official order as the poll code had come to effect. “It’s a grave injustice to us. We have been forced to take this step,” the protester said on condition of anonymity.