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Thursday, Nov 14, 2019

Punjabi University shut down for two days after clash between two student unions

The members of DSO are sitting on an indefinite protest on the varsity campus, demanding round the clock hostel entry for girls.

punjab Updated: Sep 20, 2018 14:12 IST
Sunil Rahar
Sunil Rahar
Hindustan Times, Patiala
Democratic Students’ Organisation members protesting against the management in Patiala on Wednesday.
Democratic Students’ Organisation members protesting against the management in Patiala on Wednesday. (Bharat Bhushan/HT )
         

Following a violent clash between two student unions at the Punjabi University, Patiala on Tuesday night, the varsity management has decided to shut down its main campus for two days — Thursday and Friday.

In a complete act of hooliganism on the university campus, the protesting students of Democratic Students’ Organisation (DSO), majority of whom were girls, were allegedly attacked by 50-60 members of Students Association of Punjab (SAP) outside the vice-chancellor’s (V-C) office on Tuesday night.

Five of the students and a female security guard have received minor injuries. The members of DSO are sitting on an indefinite protest on the varsity campus, demanding round the clock hostel entry for girls.

Instead of taking stern action against the hoodlums, the university management has decided to shut its premises for two days, they said. In addition to this, the university has also directed the hostellers to vacate their hostel rooms immediately as the university will reopen from Monday onwards, they added.

The university has termed the incident as a clash between two student unions, but the issue has exposed the poor security arrangements on campus.

The members of DSO and SAP are at loggerheads with each other over the demand of allowing female students to have round the clock entry permission into hostels. The SAP has openly condemned such demand put forward by their opposite union.

Tension brews

The tension started brewing on Tuesday evening after three SAP members allegedly passed lewd comments at the some female members of the DSO, who were appealing to the girls students to join their protest.

 At this, the girls allegedly intercepted the SAP members and impounded their Bullet motorcycle and assaulted the boys.

DSO secretary Gagandeep Kaur said, “At around 10.30pm, the SAP members attacked us with sharp-edged weapons and baseball bats. They stated beating us mercilessly.”

“They were at least 50-60 in number and had come in four SUVs. We suspect that the assault was mooted in connivance with the university authorities. How else could they enter the university premises on SUVs despite a ban on the entry of four-wheelers here,” she added.

SAP president Harminder Singh Sidhu said the that allegations against their union are baseless. “Few of our members went to the V-C office to complain about the DSO members for thrashing SAP members and impounding their vehicle. However, the DSO members attacked us outside the V-C office, in which two of our members received injuries,” Sidhu said.

Meanwhile, no formal complaint has been filed with the police by any of the parties.

University closed as preventive measure: Dean academics

Sensing the sensitivity of the issue, the university administration has decided to shut down the university for two days. In his orders, dean academic affairs Prof GS Batra said that the decision was taken as a preventive measure to avoid further altercations between the student unions.

“The university officials had reached the spot immediately after the clash broke out and restored the law and order situation,” Prof Batra said.

The orders further stated that the DSO’s demand of allowing round the clock hostel entry for girls is irrelevant. “Moreover, the union is instigating female students to join their protests in late evening hours against the hostel norms,” Prof Batra added.

The university spokesperson said that V-C Prof BS Ghuman, who was in New Delhi to attend a meeting, reached the university campus late at 1:30am and held a meeting with senior functionaries.

“The university has seized the closed-circuit television camera (CCTV) footages of the entire area so that appropriate action can be taken against the erring students,” the spokesperson added.

In a press release, the university management said that they had patiently listened to the DSO’s demand related to poor facilities in hostels and delay in declaring examination results, but they cannot agree to the demand of round the clock hostel entry for girls.

“We take girl students’ security seriously, and thus cannot allow round the clock entry to them into hostels. There are several other factors including social, law and order and administrative involved in the matter,” the spokesperson said.