The authorities at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) may have worked out a deft move to end students' strike by calling a meeting with parents, but it too turned a damper as only few parents turned up.
The move backfired for the university, as not more than 200 parents attended the meeting, whereas nearly 3,000 students study at the university. The strike entered its 13th day on Monday.
The situation turned more embarrassing for the administration, as most of the parents, who came to attend the meet reportedly questioned the university over lack of facilities on the campus especially at hostels, as alleged by the students.
The meeting of parents, which was conducted for all departments at different venues, was kept secret from the media and even photojournalists were not allowed to enter the halls, where parents arrived.
Sources said, the PAU authorities apprised the parents about the reasons behind the strike by students.
"The main demand of the students is to cancel suspension of students, who were found in an inebriated condition on the campus lawn on July 22 night. As parents, do you endorse such an act by students on the campus?" the faculty members asked parents.
On the other hand, to show their might and the support they enjoyed on the campus, students under the banner of PAU Students Association (PAUSA) staged a rally against the administration.
The PAUSA members also managed to bring few parents to the strike venue in front of the vice-chancellor's office and apprised them about their "genuine" demands.
Few parents were even seen hailing students for raising the banner of revolt for the demands, including provision of power backups in hostels, non-availability of clean water and shortage of hostel rooms for boys and girls.
"The decision of the authorities to call parents to snub our strike has backfired upon the administration. The parents have acknowledged our strike and it was our victory," PAUSA president Sharanveer Singh claimed.
Soon after the meeting, vice-chancellor BS Dhillon called a meeting of senior officials.
Meanwhile, PAUSA declared that they would intensify their agitation on Tuesday. "Students are ready to fight now. The authorities don't have any answer to our problems," the PAUSA president added.