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Ruckus at finance officer’s office: Punjabi University suspends football coach, forms panel for probe

On Thursday, the university management also formed a three-member committee of senior officials to probe the matter following which Randhawa was suspended with immediate effect.

punjab Updated: Sep 28, 2018 15:25 IST
Navrajdeep Singh
Navrajdeep Singh
Hindustan Times, Patiala
Punjabi University,punjab,punjab news
Dalbir Singh Randhawa(HT file )

Taking stringent action against the “unruly behaviour” of players of varsity’s sports wing on Wednesday, the Punjabi University suspended its senior football coach Dalbir Singh Randhawa on Thursday for allegedly instigating the protester.

Infuriated over non-clearance of their payments, the students, allegedly led by Randhawa, husband of varsity’s sports director Gurdeep Kaur, turned violent after the some players of the university’s sports wing barged into the office of finance officer professor RS Arora and created ruckus by breaking the office furniture.

On Thursday, the university management also formed a three-member committee of senior officials to probe the matter following which Randhawa was suspended with immediate effect.

“It is a serious matter and such indiscipline cannot be tolerated at any level. We have placed Randhawa under suspension with immediate effect,” university registrar Manjit Singh Nijjar said.

The matter

Tension ensued between the finance officer and sports department over non-clearance of sports bills, including camp expenditure, diet charges, travelling allowance and others. The protesters lifted chairs from the official’s office and broke them, while the university security guards remained mute spectators to the whole incident.

One of the senior officials said the committee found that Randhawa allegedly instigated the protesters to barge into the finance officer’s office. “Instead of stopping the students, Randhawa was found standing amidst the protesters when they were breaking the university property,” an official said.

This is not for the first time that such an incident has come to fore. In February, Randhawa and finance officer Arora had ‘manhandled’ each other over clearing of pending bills of the sports department. The sports department claimed that the varsity’s men and women teams are going to participate in All India University Cross-Country Championship in Karnataka from September 30, but no funds have been allocated for it by the finance department.

Meanwhile, football coach Randhawa could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.

However, his wife and varsity’s sports director Gurdeep Kaur Randhawa said football coach’s suspension was completely unjustified as the players were protesting for their genuine rights. “The players and coaches have brought laurels to the university, and the university is rewarding them like this,” she said. This is the second such protest in the past one week after a violent clash between two student unions — Democratic student Organisation (DSO) and Students Association of Punjab (SAP) left eight persons injured.

‘Need consensus on round -the-clock entry to hostels’

Meanwhile, on the demand of students led by DSO, the university authorities held a meeting and said that consensus needs to be built on the issues of round-the-clock entry into girls’ hostels.

A university spokesperson said, “The authorities agreed to their demand of keeping the girls’ hostels open round-the-clock but only after reaching a consensus by involving all the stakeholders.” The students are sitting on an indefinite protest outside the V-C office, demanding the same.

University spokesperson said a delegation of students also participated in the meeting.

The demands which were fully accepted by the authorities include putting up of code of conduct, complaint box and detailed fee structure outside the administrative block; time-bound declaration of results; fixing of tubelights on all varsity roads; improvement in quality of meals on the recommendation of the mess committee and the concerned warden; ensuring cleanliness in all hostels; ensuring timely availability of a lady doctor and first-aid; making allocation of seats in the hostels transparent; conducting orientation programmes for improving conduct of officials, especially working on seats involving public interface.

Meanwhile, Gagandeep kaur, secretary, DSO, claimed that the authorities did not discuss their demands in any meeting. “Instead of having discussion on the demands, the authorities told us not to disrupt the academic classes,” she said.

Instructions for media

In a bizarre move, the university’s public relation office issued instructions for mediapersons stating, “Punjabi University is passing through a sensitive phase at the moment. The media has been directed to ensure to inform and take either the director, public relations or registrar of the university into confidence before holding any public show on the university campus”

First Published: Sep 28, 2018 15:25 IST