Punjabi University’s decision to ban the entry of students’ four-wheelers on campus in ballooning into a major row between the two sides, with the varsity management deciding to suspend classes for Monday. This is the third consecutive working day when there would be no classes after 150-odd students forced the varsity to suspended classes last week — on Thursday and Friday — as well.
On Tuesday too, there will be no classes due to a public holiday to mark Agrasen Jayanti.
Due to the protest by 150-odd students, all 8,000 students have been forced to go without classes.
The students had also locked up the main entry gate to the varsity for the major part of last week, with the top brass content to look on as a bystander. The varsity has 300-strong security team.
Not all students support protest
The university authorities’ failure to control the protest is baffling. It becomes all the more puzzling when one learns that there is no unanimity among students on the issue and two groups have sprung up within them.
Students belonging to one group — a coalition of nine student organisations with loose allegiance to political parties — has been responsible for keeping the main gate locked. Their main demand is that the varsity must withdraw the ban on entry of students’ vehicles, especially cars. The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal’s (SAD’s) student wing, the Student Organisation of India, is part of this group.
“We will not end our protest till the university assures us that students’ vehicles will not be banned as part of their traffic regulation plan. Students could be issued entry stickers and vehicles of outsiders could be denied entry,” said Parmal Jeet Panjeta, one of those leading the protest by this group.
The second group — led by Democratic Student Organisation and three other parties — actually wants a ban on the entry of cars of students and outsiders on campus and want these will be directed to special parking zones. They also want a ban on the entry of Bullet motorcycle on campus.
However, with vice-chancellor Jaspal Singh away to Bengaluru the entire week, this group of students, too, had been protesting opposite his office. This was again a source of inconvenience for those visiting the varsity.
“We are surprised that the varsity has allowed the issue to be dragged on. We want the varsity to be a safe place and if vehicles have to banned, so be it,” said Aman Bajeke, one of the leaders of this group.
Administrative work to be hit as well
Though the varsity has not clarified on whether administrative blocks will function on Monday, residents would be well-advised to stay away as students would not allow entry from the main gate. HT has learnt that the rear gate, used by those residing on campus, could also be blocked by students on Monday.
V-C Jaspal Singh remained unavailable for comment.
When queried on how long this blockade of the varsity last, registrar Davinder Singh said, “We are trying to resolve the situation.”
Some students want ban on vehicles
A group of students — led by Democratic Student Organisation and three other parties — actually wants a ban on the entry of
four-wheelers of students and outsiders on campus and want these to be directed to special parking zones. They also want a ban on the entry of Bullet motorcycle on campus.