Tuesday’s violence on the campus that had protesting students pelting police with stones in response to cops’ use of water cannon and tear gas may deal a body blow to the image of Panjab University already faced with the worst ever financial crisis since its inception. HT talked to the man at the helm, vice-chancellor Arun Kumar Grover as what led to this.
Has Tuesday violence hit the brand PU?
Attempts are being made to destablise the institution for petty gains such as to emerge as a student leader for a year or two. This violence will have a lasting impression in the eyes of people who send their wards to study from far-off locations. It could have an impact on admissions. The image has been hit. We couldn’t imagine that students could go to this extent.
Wasn’t it unprecedented?
It was really unfortunate. It will work against the brand value Panjab University (PU) has created over the years. We are the only university where elections for students, teachers and nonteaching staff take place. Competing politics is leading to violence. What about democracy and dialogue? We had two meetings with students’ bodies so far. We will do everything to resist what happened on Tuesday.
Shouldn’t admn have negotiated it better?
What is there to negotiate? There is no scope of negotiation. I don’t know how much we are going to get from the centre. The matter is really serious. I don’t know how much we have to concede.
SFS has justified violence.
Does pelting of stones has a space in democracy?
Did PU authorities insist on pressing sedition charges against students?
We submitted that there was sloganeering against the state (Punjab government), the University Grants Commission (UGC), the ministry of human resources and development (MHRD) and the university administration. The police misinterpreted it. As soon as we got to know that sedition charge is being pressed, we got it dropped.
A senators’ panel was formed to look into fee hike. What has it done?
A 10-member committee of senators has been formed to talk to Punjab government and central government regarding grants. The committee will also talk to students’ council members.
UGC levelled serious allegations against PU while denying grant. Why?
The UGC before the apex court had said unsavoury things about PU. It is not acceptable that if someone says bungling of funds happened at the varsity.
Fee hike is tenfold in some courses. What if some are not able to study here?
The university cannot run without good students. We have asked the student council to suggest a model to provide more concession to students. At present, those families earning less than Rs 2.5 lakh are provided 75 % concession in fee and those whose income is between Rs 2.5 lakh and Rs 5 lakh will be provided Rs 50 % concession. We can work out to provide concession to those whose family income is between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 10 lakh.