Protests mar Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s BFUHS visit
Spiritual leader and founder of Art of Living Foundation Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s visit to Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS) on Saturday was marred by the issue of a sexual harassment plaint against a head of department (HoD) at Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital, with students resorting to protests to highlight the authorities’ alleged inaction.
A senior woman tutor had filed the complaint in August this year, but no FIR has been registered and all internal inquires are pending. An inquiry under an additional deputy commissioner, that the deputy commissioner had ordered on September 2, is also continuing. For the past week, the tutor and student organisations supporting her have been protesting outside the office of the Faridkot DC.
As Ravi Shankar was addressing the gathering of faculty and students at the medical college auditorium about 3pm, a Punjab Student Union (PSU) woman member, sitting among medical students, shouted slogans against the varsity top brass, seeking an FIR against the HoD and accusing varsity officials of not acting on the plaint.
Even as Ravi Shankar was heard on the mike, requesting that she be allowed to speak, police whisked her out of the auditorium. The programme continued as scheduled, concluding about 4.30pm.
Hours before this, police had taken women student union members in custody from Darbar Ganj in Faridkot, around 1km from the address venue, foiling their planned march towards the medical college to show black flags. Several other students were also taken into custody from outside the main gate and the entrance of the college.
“Nobody was allowed to disturb peace, more than 50 students were taken into custody to prevent any untoward incident. All of them were released in the evening after a warning,” said SP Bhupinder Singh Sidhu.
EMBRACE CRITICISM: SPIRITUAL LEADER TELLS STUDENTS
During his address, Ravi Shankar encouraged students to embrace criticism and shun prejudice. He also emphasised there was an urgent need to stop the increasing rate of suicide among medical students. He added that for this, it was critical to examine one’s state of mind and ensure that it remained free of tension and fear.
“Students must be ready to welcome criticism. When someone criticises us, we shun them. We should, however, welcome it. They may criticise you because they don’t know you or are jealous of you or they are your well-wishers,” he said, adding, “The mind should be free of stress. You cannot claim to be healthy, if the society around you is full of tension and fear.”