Tension prevailed in Barton Hill Engineering College after SFI activists gheraoed the principal-in-charge for more than three hours alleging irregularities in the counting of votes of student union elections held on the campus here on Wednesday. The gherao ended around 8 15 pm following the intervention of the police and an assurance from the principal that a meeting would be held on Thursday to finalise a day for recounting.
According to students, the elections were progressing smoothly in the morning until the college authorities decided to open the ballot box before the counting process that was to start at 2 pm. When the counting ended, KSU won the seat for general secretary by one vote. Following this, SFI activists started alleging irregularities in the election process and accused that the teachers had tried to support KSU by sabotaging the basic electoral principles. The elections were held for 8 posts in the union.
Thereafter, a group of 20 sloganeering students, barged into the cabin of the principal in -charge Jayaraj and staged a sit-in from 3 pm to 8 pm.“What we saw in the college is a violation of electoral principles. The teachers opened the ballot box much earlier and carried out malpractice to support other parties. When the activists tried to give a written complaint to the presiding officer and teacher Farooq, he refused to accept it and went away. So we decided to stage a sit-in in the principal office. However, the principal gave the assurance,” said Riyaz Wahab, General Secretary, SFI district committee.
Meanwhile, Sreejith S, a college lecturer said that the issue has not been resolved and the college authorities have declared holiday for Onam. “The protest was triggered by a minor issue. However, it has not been resolved. The protest ended peacefully and the college declared holiday till the end of Onam vacation. Hopefully, the issue will be discussed after Onam holidays and I am not aware of the meeting to be held on Thursday”, he said.