PU violence: Students were lathicharged, which is why they reacted, says SFS president Amritpal
Amritpal Singh, a PhD student in history, fought the elections for president’s post from Students for Society (SFS) in 2016. He was part of the protest called by SFS on April 11 when stone pelting took place. He took shelter in the university gurdwara and later surrendered. He was among the 53 students who were arrested and later released on bail. On Friday too, SFS has called for PU bandh once more.punjab Updated: Apr 21, 2017 18:17 IST
Amritpal Singh, a PhD student in history, fought the elections of the Panjab University Campus Students’ Council (PUCSC) for the president’s post from Students for Society (SFS) in 2016. He was part of the protest against fee hike called by SFS and others on April 11 when stone-pelting took place. He took shelter in the university gurdwara and later surrendered. He was among the 53 students who were arrested and later released on bail. On Friday too, SFS called for a PU bandh.
Q. Could violence take place again on Friday?
We always believe in peaceful protest. We want to make students aware of what is happening. Last time on April 11, the protest had turned violent. It is up to the authorities to ensure peace, not us.
Q. Stone pelting has injured a number of cops. Do you justify this violence?
It was the police that instigated the students. Students were lathicharged, which is why they reacted. The violence happened from the other side. That is why this time too, it is up to the authorities to ensure peace.
Q. After April 11 violence, the joint action committee of students has fallen apart. Other student bodies are blaming you for violence. What is your take on it?
It is important to see that we all have different ideologies. The other student parties like National Students Union of India and Student Organisation of India are affiliated to Congress and Akali Dal, respectively. They are being run by their masters. They should have demanded that the case against us be taken back. They should have supported us rather than going diplomatic. I would ask whether they have any ideology.
Q. What will be the purpose of joint students’ action committee, which you have formed recently?
In the joint students’ action committee, we have All India Students Association (AISA), PSU Lalkar, Students Federation of India (SFI), Ambedkar Students Association, Panjab University Students Union (Evening dept) and Students for Society (SFS). Most of these are Left-oriented. We have not got together to get votes but there are specific goals for students’ welfare. We mobilise students on issues.
Q. Chandigarh MP Kirron Kher has also blamed you for violence. She said that you wanted to convert PU into Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). What is your take on it?
Kirron Kher has been reiterating what BJP’s student wing ABVP says. She should know what is the standard of JNU. It is a top university. She speaks in the favour of RSS. They describe us as intellectual terrorists.
Q. What reaction have students given you after your release?
Students have supported us. They believe that stone pelting took place as we were lathicharged. But the PU authorities are working against us. Security guards have torn our posters. The students are being told not to join protest but focus on attendance. The record of attendance is being checked. They do not want us to spread our message.
Q. Some of your leaders are still absconding. Shouldn’t they surrender?
Struggle is going on. The new students will join us. They have applied for anticipatory bail and they will get it soon. They do not have the need to surrender.
Q. Do you think you will be detained before Friday’s protest?
Though I don’t think so, if it happens, there are enough leaders to lead the protest.