Teacher politics in Punjabi University, in bad light since an associate professor allegedly hit a research scholar, only got worse on Thursday here.
On March 24, after a long agitation by research scholars, the university had tranferred Gurjant Singh, associate professor in the Punjabi department, to the engineering department.
Gurjant, however, moved the Punjab Scheduled Caste Commission and accused two fellow senior teachers, Jaswinder Singh and Surjit Singh, of directing casteist remarks at him. Jaswinder is the guide of research scholar Harpreet Singh, the assault on whom brought the frustrations out.
Jaswinder had led seven members of the faculty in the Punjabi department to the vice-chancellor to demand the transfer of Gurjant. On March 25, the SC commission had stayed Gurjant's transfer and ordered the senior superintendent of police to look into the matter.
The university seems unable to handle the matter at own level.
Gurjant had "misbehaved" with students twice in the past, yet some senior administrators of the university tried to save his skin in slapgate case, thereby escalating the matter, as it reached the police. It's the first of the internal matters of the university assigned to the police for inquiry. On February 28 evening, Gurjant had allegedly slapped and abused Harpreet, when he had arrived late to drive the teacher's wife to a dinner organised by the university.
The inquiry committee of deans SS Khaira (academics), HS Pannu (research), and Jamshid Ali Khan (colleges); and professors Paramjeet Singh (sports science), and Sarbjinder Singh (religious studies) had recommended the transfer of Gurjant. The decision was forced by the struggle of the Punjabi University research scholar association (PURSA) and its continuous dharna for more than 10 days.
Dean Khaira declined to comments on the case, saying it was sensitive. "Publicity will only make thing worse," he said.