Over 50 people, including students, police personnel and journalists, were injured as students clashed with police officials in Panjab University campus on Tuesday. This happened after a stir organised by the former turned awry. Based on a call by various student bodies, scholars had stopped attending classes to protest against the varsity’s decision to hike tuition fees.
No Sedition Charges Registered
The protesting students allegedly pelted stones at the police and broke window panes of the offices and damaged other university property.
Police then took over 50 students into custody. Reports also suggested that those indulging in violence were slapped with sedition charges, but a Hindustan Times report denied the claim. It said that police were “reluctant” to file charges after senior police officials asked them to “verify if any act amounted to sedition”.
Nearly half-a-dozen media persons injured in the clashes had to be rushed to hospitals with serious injuries.
Police resorted to baton charge, use of water cannons and tear-gas to disperse the agitators who had gathered near the Vice Chancellor's Office complex.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala condemned the violence on campus. He tweeted:
Barbaric & savage attack by chd. police on hapless students & media in Pb.Univ Is shameless.Is this the way BJP treats the young & students? pic.twitter.com/F8T7YqXpmP— Randeep S Surjewala (@rssurjewala) April 11, 2017
Later, a few students, who were being chased by police, entered a gurdwara on the campus and took refuge there. Police officials were reported to be negotiating with them to come out.
Classes were affected in several departments of the Sector 14 campus of the university due to the protest shutdown called by the students.
According to another Hindustan Times report, student unions leaders who were on the forefront of the stir, have now surrendered before police.
Protests erupted after the varsity’s senate approved an average fee hike of 12.5 percent for all courses on Sunday. However, fees for some courses have jumped by five times, leading to massive outrage in student community.
With the fee-structure in place, students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts or a Commerce degree would now have to shell out Rs 10,000, as opposed to an earlier fee of Rs 2000.
University authorities said that they were forced to hike the fees for various courses following directions from the Union Human Resource Development Ministry and the University Grants Commission.
The university has been grappling with financial crisis for the last two-three years with grants from the Centre and the Punjab government not coming regularly.
The changes, however, would only apply to students seeking admission in the upcoming academic session.
(With inputs from IANS.)
Video Editor: Vivek Gupta
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