In a third protest action in less than a week, teachers working in non-government affiliated colleges of Amritsar participated in a protest rally in front of Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) campus after resorting to a two-period strike in their respective institutions here on Wednesday.
They were protesting against the "false and fabricated" cases lodged against 22 teachers on March 31, 2011, during the agitation launched against the conversion of Khalsa College, Amritsar, into a private university.
Prof HS Walia, executive member of Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) that gave the call for the protest and one of those named in the FIR, asserted that their stir against the university status for Khalsa College was totally peaceful and democratic. He accused college principal Dr Daljit Singh of distorting facts and lodging a false and fabricated FIR against the agitating teachers.
PCCTU president Prof PS Gill accused Dr Daljit Singh and college managing committee of backtracking on a written agreement reached between the management and teachers of Khalsa College that provided for withdrawal of the FIR.
Dr Jagwant Singh, vice-president of All India Federation of Universities and College Teachers' Union, warned that the agitation would be intensified in case the FIR was not withdrawn.
On the other hand, Khalsa College principal Dr Daljit Singh claimed no effect of the strike call or 'dharna' on teaching at the Khalsa College. In a statement, he claimed that the agreement signed with the teachers by the college management on June 16, 2011, had already been executed and hence there was no question of backtracking.
He reiterated that as Prof Walia and six others had moved the Punjab and Haryana high court for the quashing of the FIR, they should wait for the court decision on the matter instead of agitating. He claimed that the PCCTU chose July 19, 22 and 24 for the protest with mala fide intentions since the case was fixed for hearing on July 25 in a local court.