PU complaint said students raised slogans against state, cops slapped

“State means UGC, MHRD and their funding bodies," stated officiating chief security officer, Professor Ashwani Koul in his FIR

Written by Sofi Ahsan | Chandigarh | Updated: April 14, 2017 9:29:53 am
PU, Panjab University, Chandigarh Police, UGC, MHRD, Panjab University Agitation, Chandigarh, Chandigarh News, Indian Express, Indian Express News Barricades at the main entry to the Vice-Chancellor’s office at Panjab University on Thursday. (Kamleshwar Singh)

A SENTENCE that a “huge mob of students had raised slogans against the state” in one-page long complaint filed by PU authorities had made Chandigarh Police slap sedition charge, without verifying the authenticity of the complaint, against 68 students on Tuesday.

The sedition charge was withdrawn hours after the registration of FIR when the officiating chief security officer, Professor Ashwani Koul, once again submitted a four-line-long communication before Sector 11 police station station house officer, stating “state means UGC, MHRD and their funding bodies”. While Section 124-A charge was later withdrawn, police officials say there was no time to probe the “anti-state” allegation against students and they just went by what was claimed by the complainant.

Prof Koul, who is holding additional charge of chief of university security, in his police complaint wrote that a “huge mob of students” had raised slogans “against the state” and caused a “huge loss to public property” on campus on Tuesday.

“They ransacked the entrance of Vice-Chancellor’s office causing a huge loss to public property and raising slogans against the state and causing injury to our security staff and also to the police personnel who were deployed for protection,” wrote Koul, who is a professor at the department of biophysics at the university, in the complaint. “A list of students/agitators who have been identified, along with the video clipping, is attached here with.”

However, the university officials later rushed to the police to clarify what they meant by “slogans against the state”.

“They had clearly written it in the complaint. It was a serious issue and so many people were injured,” Chandigarh SSP Eish Singhal told Chandigarh Newsline. “Where was the scope for (preliminary) inquiry? The university officials later came with a clarification and we withdrew the section. They said the state means UGC, MHRD and their funding bodies but for us, state means what is written in the Constitution.”

Registrar Col (retd) G S Chada said though the police were prompt enough to delete Section 124-A from the charges levelled against the students, they should have looked into the complaint properly. “When you lodge a complaint, you do not give sections under which it should be registered. You just say what has happened,” Chada said.

A senior university official said the confusion related to the sedition charge against students was caused by the haste that the police showed in registering the FIR. “We are not lawyers who know what means what. The FIR was registered within a few minutes of the complaint. They did not look into the video before adding Section 124-A to the FIR,” the official said. “The university chief security officer and other officials went to the police as soon as they came to know that police were invoking sedition against the students.”

PU Vice-Chancellor Arun Kumar Grover had on Wednesday told Chandigarh Newsline that the situation at the university would not have turned violent if the university had a permanent chief security officer.

The university had advertised the post of chief of university security last year but has not received approval for the permanent post yet.

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