Panjab University students held a protest on Monday against the withholding of degrees of SC/ST students. Their degrees are allegedly being withheld because of delay by the Punjab government in disbursing requisite post-matric scholarship amount to the varsity. The protest was called out by conglomerate of student organisations, including Ambedkar Student Association (ASA). Holding placards that read ‘Education is not for sale’, students assembled outside the vice-chancellor’s office at around 11.30 am and started chanting anti-administration slogans.
Many students of the varsity addressed the protesting congregation, demanding that degrees of SC/ST not be withheld. Students also presented a memorandum in this regard, which was received by Dean Student Welfare (DSW) Emmanual Nahar. ASA member, Gurdeep Singh, told Newsline, “The SC/ST students of Punjab study here under scholarship programmes. This means their fee is provided by the government. Punjab government, however, has not paid the scholarship amount to PU for many years. Now, we hear that university is withholding degrees of SC/ST students. We are protesting against this decision.”
“DSW and DUI said it is just a rumor and they were not withholding degrees of SC/ST students. If the news is fake, then they should clarify and also state why such rumours were spread,” said Gurdeep, adding, that a memorandum was presented to VC and DSW.
“If this happens again, we will shut down the university,” Gurdeep further stated.
Panjab University Campus Student Council president, Kanupriya, said, “We cannot allow such decision to be implemented. If they are, we will stage a bigger protest, along with like minded associations of the varsity.” Dean Student Welfare Emmanual Nahar told the protesting students that no student’s degree was being withheld by the university. “I am taking responsibility that the university will not withhold the degrees of any SC/ST student. Let me know if the degree of any student is being withheld. In that case, I will talk to controller as well as FDO,” he said.
“I came to know that some private colleges are withholding degrees of their students. While I cannot take responsibility for those colleges, I am taking the responsibility that degrees of SC/ST students in PU campus and other regional centers are not being withheld,” Nahar told the students.
While talking to Newsline, registrar at Panjab University, Karamjeet Singh, said, “We are not withholding degrees of any SC/ST student in our university.” “Yes, we have written a letter to Punjab government to pay the scholarship amount but we will not be putting our students at disadvantage due to non-payment,” Karamjeet Singh added.