A joint organisation of students’ from Panjab University on Friday staged a demonstration against the university for filing a case against a National Student Union of India (NSUI) leaders and a PSU Lalkar member for allegedly heckling and restraining the varsity’s vice-chancellor, Professor Raj Kumar, on September 1.
Rahul, Pargat Singh, and Sarvottam Rana of the National Students Union of India (NSUI), and Amandeep, a woman member of Punjab Students Union (PSU)-Lalkar, have been named in the FIR registered at the Sector 11 police station.
The cases against the students have been registered under Sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 341 (wrongful restraint) of the Indian Penal Code. If convicted, the students face up to one-year imprisonment.
According to the complaint filed, the incident had taken place amid the senate elections, when hundreds of students were protesting near the law auditorium against the PU administration to demand elections for the registered graduate constituency and the re-opening of campus.
The protesting students, around 100 in number, said that the complaint was fabricated in nature. “These false FIRs have been filed against four students for asking questions regarding senate elections and the reopening of the university.”
Students for Society president, Sandeep, said that the FIRs were against academic freedom and were an attempt to muzzle whatever democracy was left on the campus. “We students are not afraid of FIRs and jails. These FIRs are lodged against all those who raise their voices against injustice. UAPA cases against student leader Umar Khalid, 90 per cent disabled Professor Sai Baba, Dr Anand Teltumbe, poet Vara vara Rao, Soma Sen, and many others, who spoke against the administration shows the dictatorship of BJP-RSS-ABVP,” he said.
He added that the FIRs are also an attempt to divert attention from the illegal admission of the son of DSW (Women) Meena Sharma.
Sandeep also said that the narrative of violence against the vice chancellor was false. “Asking questions to the V-C is not violence. Registering FIRs against students is violence. Denying offline classes to all students is violence. Dismantling the senate amounts to violence, raising fee is violence, and harassing students and scholars is violence. All this is part of structural violence. And we will continue to ask questions and resist the dictatorship of the vice chancellor come what may,” he said
On Friday the students’ organisations that joined the protests included ASA, SFS, SOI, PSU (Lalkaar), ISA, PUSU, Sath, NSUI, Y4S, AISA, SOPU, SFI participated in the joint protest.
The students’ organisations said that they demand the immediate quashing of FIRs and the cancellation of the illegal admission of the son of DSW (Women), Prof Meena Sharma.