An argument that started over catcalls inside the Panjab University law auditorium during a fashion show of the University Institute of Fashion Technology (UIFT) on Friday evening turned into a violent clash between members of two student organisations, landing two students in hospital with serious injuries.
One of them is battling for life. A total of eight bullets were fired allegedly by unidentified members of PUSU (Panjab University Students Union), police claimed.
The police said Manpreet Aulakh (26), campus president of Student Organisation of India (SOI) — the student wing of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) — was fired upon by PUSU members outside the law auditorium.
Resham Singh Godara, 28, a PUSU member, also suffered injury on his head in the clash that followed. Aulakh suffered a bullet injury on his thigh and was rushed to Government Multi-Specialty Hospital, Sector 16.
Godara, a native of Bathinda and a student of MA (sociology), is admitted to the PGIMER’s trauma centre and is stated to be critical.
Aulakh, a resident of Muktsar, resides in hostel number 4 of PU and is studying MA (administration).
Talking to HT, Singh said, “We were attending a fashion show at the law auditorium and when some rowdy boys came and whistled at the girls, we objected...later, when my friends and I were getting out of the Student Centre post the show, a group of PUSU members assaulted us.”
He added that Navaldeep Singh attacked him a sharp-edged weapon, followed by Resham Godara opening fire. “Susham, Randeep and Rinda were some of the other attackers,” Aulakh told HT.
SOI spokesperson Buland Singh Sekhon (who owns the Innova that was smashed in the clash) and his driver Sanju were also present at the spot. Sekhon has received seven injuries on his head. Sanju said, “We were outside when Buland got a call from his friends asking him to reach the campus. A group of eight to nine people attacked us when we reached the student centre. A youth thrashed me due to which I bled. Then I fled from the spot.”
Sekhon took him along with Manpreet and one Jashandeep to the GMCH-16 at about 7:30pm. Sanju has received injuries on his head, while Jashandeep has suffered injuries on his leg.
Firing started at Student Centre
The police have claimed that after an argument over whistling at the participants of a fashion show, two students were thrown out of the law auditorium. However, even after they dispersed from the venue, two opposing groups of students assembled near the parking lot at the Student Centre opposite the boys’ hostel number 4 with their sports utility vehicles (SUVs) Scorpio and Innova. There were around 10 students in each group. The police claimed that one of them fired at SOI campus president Aulakh. Witnesses said Aulakh’s supporters chased the man who fired the shot, but he escaped. Four shots were fired. Chandigarh SSP Sukchain Singh Gill said, “Preliminary inquiry has revealed it was an old tussle between the two students who have been injured. The whistling during the fashion show only aggravated the tension. The assailant is yet to be identified. Things will be clear when we record statements.” PU chief security officer Jatinder Grover said, “We will investigate how students managed to get weapons on the campus.” Sector 11 SHO Narinder Patial said a case under Section 307 (attempt to murder) and the Arms Act has been registered.