The chain hunger strike by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) entered its 17th day on Tuesday where it called for action against those who pelted stones during the violence that had taken place on Panjab University (PU) campus on April 11. As many as 53 students were arrested regarding that matter, but all were released on bail.
According to Krishan Sheoran, campus president of ABVP, the party demands central university status for PU, which other students’ organisations oppose, which was the reason it was not part of joint action committee of student bodies.
He said the April 11 violence had hit the image of the PU. He added that PU authorities did not come for talks, there was lathicharge by the police and a particular student party brought outsiders for stone pelting. “We demand strict action against stone pelters,” said Sheoran.
The party alleged that Students for Society (SFS) had carried out stone pelting as part of pre-planned strategy. It issued a press statement where it claimed that they had brought stones with them and covered their faces with handkerchiefs to avoid being identified.
The party also condemned the alleged statement of Damanpreet Singh, campus president of SFS, where he exhorted students to adopt any method of protest.
Due to violence, the PU authorities had got a chance to suppress the movement against fee hike.
On the question of their demand for removal of present vice-chancellor, the ABVP clairified that they had nothing personal against professor Arun Grover, but as he had expressed his helplessness on rolling back fee hike, the party was asking him to resign and join students in protest.
A delegation of ABVP met Punjab governor and UT administrator VP Singh Badnore and briefed him about the current situation of the university.
Teachers to protest too
There is a nationwide call for all university and college teachers to observe ‘Demand Day’ on Wednesday while wearing badges, demanding ‘Share the 7th UGC Pay Review Report’. “The badges have already been sent to all the departments,” said professor Promila Pathak, president of Panjab University Teachers Association (PUTA).
No work on identifying innocent students
The PU authorities along with PU Campus Students’ Council president Nishant Kaushal were working on identifying innocent students. The committee was formed after the intervention of Punjab governor, but it had met just once on Saturday where it identified 15 students only. It was yet to sit again, but hasn’t.