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Student collapses at Bathinda varsity, dies; probe ordered after protest over ‘delay’

Protesting students said the university dispensary lacks basic facilities and that Sagar died due to delay

punjab Updated: Apr 24, 2018 21:46 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Bathinda
Central University of Punjab,Bathinda,Punjab
Students of Central University of Punjab block Bathinda-Mansa road after a student died in the university campus at Bathinda on Tuesday.(Sanjeev Kumar/HT)

A 22-year-old student, Sushant Sagar, from Bihar collapsed during a basketball match at the Central University of Punjab (CUP) in Bathinda and later died on Monday night, sparking a protest on Tuesday by students who alleged mishandling of the situation by the university. After a probe was ordered by the district administration to submit a report in two weeks, the protesters lifted the blockade on the Bathinda-Mansa road after three hours.

Sagar, who belonged to Saharsa district and was a student of MSc (biochemistry and microbial science) here, collapsed around 8.20 pm on Monday and was taken to the university dispensary first. He was referred to a private hospital where doctors declared him dead. The exact cause was not known immediately.

Protesting students said the university dispensary lacks basic facilities and that Sagar died due to delay. “He couldn’t be taken to the hospital for nearly 45 minutes. When the university doctor referred him to a private hospital, the authorities couldn’t find keys to an ambulance. We asked the officials to let him be taken in a car, but they didn’t allow that,” alleged a student on the condition of anonymity fearing persecution, adding, “There was no driver on duty and one had to be called on the phone; he came all the way from his house in the city, six kilometres away, to drive the ambulance.” Students demanded that a case be registered against “those responsible for delay” and that compensation be given to the family.

Shali Gram, identified as Sagar’s relative who came from Delhi, said no university official called the family and he was informed by a student. The parents were yet to arrive.

Vice-chancellor RK Kohli partly denied the allegations. He said the key was in the ambulance and a faculty member even tried to start it. On the absence of the driver, Kohli said he has been suspended as he was not on duty, “but it is yet to be verified where he was”.

The ambulance reached the hospital, around four kilometres away, “at 9pm,” according to inspector Narinderpal Singh, station house officer (SHO) of Kotfatta area under whose jurisdiction the campus falls. Postmortem was conducted by a panel of two doctors at the Bathinda civil hospital and the report was awaited, police further said.

Earlier, sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Balwinder Singh visited the protest site with the assurance of a time- bound inquiry, and Kohli too promised a thorough probe, at which the protest was suspended. Kohli said the district administration set up a six-member inquiry committee, comprising deputy superintendent of police (DSP), rural; registrar of MRS Punjab Technical University, a lawyer, the registrar and security officer of CUP; and a senior medical officer of the civil hospital, that will submit a report within two weeks. “Action will be taken accordingly,” he said.

First Published: Apr 24, 2018 21:40 IST