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Three-member panel to conduct probe into clash at Punjabi University

Violent clashes had ensued between the members of Democratic Students’ Organisation (DSO) and Students’ Association of Punjab (SAP) on September 18.

punjab Updated: Sep 30, 2018 12:26 IST
Navrajdeep Singh
Navrajdeep Singh
Hindustan Times, Patiala
Punjabi University,clash at Punjabi University,Patiala
(HT File )

Punjabi University, Patiala, has constituted a three-member high-level commission for carrying out an inquiry into the clash between student unions on September 18, in which at least eight students were injured.

The panel will be headed by Prof SS Chahal, former vice-chancellor (V-C) of Maharana Partap University of Agriculture and Technology, Udaipur. Amarjit Singh Gill, former Director General of Police (DGP Rajasthan), and Jagjit Singh Puri, former IAS officer and ex-secretary to the Punjab government, will be the other members of the commission.

Registrar Manjit Singh Nijjar said, “As promised earlier, all three members of the panel are outsiders and do not belong to Punjabi University. This is to ensure free and fair inquiry into the matter.”

“The appointment of high-level officials will help in carrying out unbiased inquiry. They are to submit a report to the university authorities within three months,” the registrar said.

Violent clashes had ensued between the members of Democratic Students’ Organisation (DSO) and Students’ Association of Punjab (SAP) on September 18. The members of DSO and SAP were 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 demands being put forward by the opposite union. Following the clash, the university authorities had decided to shut down the varsity for two days (September 20 to 21).

Most demands accepted, DSO still reluctant to lift protest

The delegation of senior officials of the university held a detailed meeting with representatives of the protesting students. The meeting went on till late Friday evening. Though the university has accepted most of their demands, the DSO is reluctant to lift the protest from outside the vice-chancellor’s office.

The authorities have made it clear that students’ demands of opening the girls’ hostels round-the-clock cannot be accepted instantly. They argued that there is need to involve all stakeholders and get a consensus of hostellers, their parents, student unions and the varsity administration.

On parents’ opinion being taken into account, DSO secretary Gagandeep Kaur said that they welcome the varsity’s positive approach towards their demands, but involving parents in the matter is not justified.

“When we as adults can take our own decisions, what is point of holding dialogue or building consensus with our parents over the issue?,” she questioned.

She added that the parents have nothing to do with university affairs.

“The university authorities do not consult our parents before imposing a fee hike or in other administrative deicions, then why now?,” she said.

Meanwhile, a university spokesperson said that vice-chancellor Prof BS Ghuman has ordered implementation of the code of conduct in the administrative blocks. Boards displaying fee structure related to administrative works have been installed in all blocks.

The university has agreed to make mess committees in girls hostels more powerful, besides holding orientation programmes for non-teaching employees to improve their skills in dealing with students.

On the demand of installing lift in girls hostels, the university has assured students that the work related to it will be started once the state government releases funds.

Student unions divided over demands

Following the clash on the university campus, the students seem to be divided into left versus right wings.

The DSO has gathered support of left inclining unions including All India Students Federation (AISF), Students Federation of India (SFI), Punjab Students’ Union (PSU), and PSU (Lalkar).

On the other hand, student unions including SAP, Student Organisation of India (SOI), a student wing of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD); National Student Union of India (NSUI), a Congress student wing; Youth Organisation of India (YOI), Organisation of Punjabi University Students (OPUS), Student Welfare Associate Group (SWAG) and Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) have extended their support to the university authorities.

First Published: Sep 30, 2018 12:26 IST