Protesting against fee hike and entry of cops on the campus, student organisations blocked Gate No. 2 of Panjab University on Monday noon.
As the gate remained blocked up to 2 pm, other students, employees and residents had to park their vehicles outside the gate or move to other two gates to enter the campus.
Over 100 students, who had decided to boycott classes on Monday, took out a rally from the vice-chancellor’s office to Gate No. 2 and ended up closing it. They resorted to sloganeering and were joined by students of affiliated colleges as well.
Although the PU authorities were aware about the protest and the students’ threat to block the gate, no arrangements were made to prevent it.
Dean, students’ welfare (DSW), professor Navdeep Goyal reached the spot after two hours. After listening to the students’ demand of rolling back the fee hike, Goyal expressed his helplessness on the issue. “Had the university received its pending grant before the senate meeting scheduled on March 27, I would have opposed the fee hike too. At the present moment, we are in a fix as we have not received the Rs 90-crore grant while the previous year’s grant of Rs 17 crore is still pending,” he said.
Goyal said the fee hike had been reduced from 20% to 5%, but the students were still protesting. “The vice-chancellor and registrar are in a constant touch with the higher authorities to address the issue,” he said.
Panel to look into ‘manhandling’ case
On the issue of alleged manhandling of students by the Sector-11 station house officer (SHO), Goyal agreed to form a committee within a day to investigate the March-14 incident.
“The cops had to be called as we knew security guards could not handle the situation. We will take a representative from among the students and watch the complete video to see what happened that day,” he said.
Deputy superintendent of police (DSP, central) Satish Kumar also reached the campus to maintain law and order. SHO Narinder Patial, who allegedly manhandled and abused students protesting against fee hike outside the administrative block, was also accompanying him.
The DSP assured the protesters that required action would be taken on the complaint against Patial submitted to the senior superintendent of police. Students also demanded a policy on entry of cops on the campus.
Some demand ‘azaadi’
While three student organisations of the campus came together to protest against fee hike and entry of cops, a group of students took to mikes and screamed slogans of ‘azaadi’, taking a cue from Jawaharlal Nehru University protests. They also sang a song titled ‘university vech ditti (university has been sold)’. The girls were equally active when it came to sloganeering against the university authorities and singing Punjabi songs.