A group of over 100 people, allegedly including teachers, non-teaching staff and outsiders, who arrived at the Pondicherry Central University in vehicles belonging to the university Tuesday morning, attacked professors and students who led a three-week long protest against ex V-C Chandra Krishnamurthy.
Till 2.30 pm, at least four departments — Chemistry, Bioinformatics, Pollution Control, Green Energy Departments — were ransacked by the mob and equipment worth several lakhs destroyed. Students and professors said they have been pleading with the police for help from 11.30 am, but they allegedly either refused to come or switched off their phones. “They deployed more police force at the former V-C’s bungalow near the campus,” a student said.
One female student was dragged on the floor by group of men at the Pollution Control department, while a boy was beaten up; the student had to be hospitalised later.
“We noticed a huge mob attacking the university library. Soon after, they surrounded us near the Life Science department. Some of them started pelting stones at a faculty’s car while two men, including a non-teaching staff, tried to manhandle me. When I slapped him, others joined him and attacked me,” said a female university student.
Tasneem Abbasi, a senior faculty member, alleged a mob of over 50 men attacked and damaged her car. “First they stopped me and started abusing me. When I objected, they slapped me and dragged me on the road while trying to snatch my phone… The police extended no help despite repeated calls,” she said.
As the police did not turn up till 1.30 pm, the mob was allegedly seen moving to different departments, searching for people who led the protest against the former V-C.
R Samyuktha, chief librarian at the university, had to lock herself inside a cabin when more than 100 people vandalised the library.
“I was the target. As I did not come out, they damaged eight CCTV cameras, digital equipment and my car. At least 10 people were injured, several vehicles were attacked and equipment worth lakhs was damaged,” she said.
A report on the attacks, submitted before the V-C’s office based on CCTV footage, has reportedly identified 21 staff and 10 students who led the attack including A Praveen, an assistant professor of the department of Physical Education, six students from his department and university PRO Mahesh.
Interestingly, the striking students have been demanding the arrest of Praveen after he allegedly sexually harassed a student for protesting against former V-C Krishnamurthy.
Meanwhile, Anisa B Khan, who was appointed V-C in charge by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD), refused to accept complaints reportedly following threats. Sources close to her said a group of people met her and threatened that she will face trouble if she took action against people close to the former V-C.
In his complaint to MHRD secretary Vinay Sheel Oberoi, senior faculty and leader of the Pondicherry University Teachers’ Association (PUTA) N Dastagiri Reddy said he along with many professors are hiding in fear of further attacks.
Alleging that the attack was engineered by Krishnamurthy, Reddy requested Oberoi to instruct the Puducherry government to provide protection to the new V-C in-charge, faculty and students.