A day after the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of student bodies in Panjab University threw its back behind the arrested students, the National Students’ Union of India has walked out of the amalgam of student groups saying it does not agree with their “modus operandi” for the protest against fee hike.
NSUI leaders on Friday addressed a press conference in front of the vice-chancellor’s office to clarify its stand on the violent protests that broke out in PU campus on Tuesday during the bandh called by JSAC. “We are not part of the Joint Action. Their motive is something different, and are taking the issue somewhere else,” said NSUI leader Manoj Lubana.
Stating the decision to break its ties with the JAC has nothing to do with Congress, Lubana said the union would continue to hold independent protests against the fee hike issue. “Our motive is and has always been of rollback of fee hike. This has nothing to do with our party. We are students and working on that basis,” he said.
Blaming “unidentified miscreants” for stone pelting in the campus on Tuesday, NSUI said the “radical elements” should be “penalised” for disturbing a peaceful protest in the university and claimed the students who engaged in violence are outsiders. “We strongly believe that this sort of violence can never resolve the issue of fee hike, rather it is deviating the issue from fee hike to resolving the matter of innocent and all other students against whom charges have been leveled,” the party said in a statement. Senior NSUI leader Siya Minocha said the authorities should have initiated dialogue with the students to resolve the issue before the situation turned violent. “Police should not have used lathi-charge and teargas because, whatever the situation that occurred, the protesters were only students,” Minocha said.
NSUI leaders said the student group will organise a protest outside the residence of Chandigarh MP Kirron Kher when she arrives in the city, because she has not fulfilled her “promise” of Rs 140 crore grant to Panjab University. Kher last month claimed that HRD minister Prakash Javadekar has asked the University Grants Commission to release the amount to PU but both the university and centre have denied any information on it. “She is not in Chandigarh right now but whenever she returns we will protest outside her house,” Lubana said.
NSUI leaders said the student group, along with All India NSUI President Amrita Dhawan, would meet Chief Minister of Punjab, Captain Amrinder Singh and the Governor of Chandigarh on the financial crisis issue of the university. “We will meet our MP and Punjab CM, then wait for 15-20 days. If the funds are not released, we will protest in Delhi,” Lubana said.