Published: 25th December 2021
Suspension of 11 students justified as they manhandled authorities, called VC a thief: Pondicherry University officials
While the students believe that it was their democratic right to protest and the decision is unfair as the case is still pending in the court, the senior varsity officials have a different take
Even as the five-year suspension of eleven students from Pondicherry University has come under criticism from popular activists, top varsity officials believe the move was justified as "people were manhandled, the campus property was damaged and dirty slogans were raised".
The "dirty" slogan referred to here is: "Humara Vice-Chancellor chor hai" (Our VC is a thief). To put it in context, the students were protesting a sudden jump in the varsity fees in late 2019 — the protests were put on hold after the case went to the Madras High Court and then the pandemic hit.
As part of their protests, the students had gheraoed the Vice-Chancellor and other officers. Speaking to Edexlive, on condition of anonymity, a highly placed source from the varsity claimed that the students pushed and manhandled the authorities. Earlier, the Pondicherry Students' Council President, Parichay Yadav, who is also one of the suspended students, had denied this allegation and had told Edexlive that the protest was "very democratic and nothing violent or aggressive had happened".
The top official said that there were multiple attempts to have a dialogue with the students but they weren't willing to accept any negotiation that the varsity had proposed. It is then that both sides went to court for a resolution.
While the students believe that it was their democratic right to protest and the decision is unfair as the case is still pending in the court, the senior varsity official has a different take, "Why should we wait for the judgement? We will abide by the judgement when it comes. But do the students have the right to shout slogans against the university? Can they stop government servants from working? Can they bring disrepute to the university?"
The official said, "We respect democratic values. We have given them full freedom but they cannot deface the campus walls, they cannot damage the property. They cannot think that they are lords of the university and do whatever they want."
There were hundreds who participated in the protest, so why were only the eleven singled out? Yadav had told Edexlive that the eleven students were the most active participants. The official said, "There are videos that show who is doing what. If somebody is doing something that is against the law, will they not be singled out? They stood in front of the crowd, gave hateful speeches and abused the authority."
The Students' Federation of India (SFI) has taken to the streets again and is trying to mount pressure on the varsity to take back the expulsion. But will this have any impact on the higher authorities? The official said that the students have a right to protest. "They can lawfully do what they want now. The university has taken its decision," the source said.
When asked if the university is expecting an apology from the students in order to repeal the expulsion orders, the authorities refused to comment. However, it is very unlikely that the students will bow down to the varsity as Yadav had earlier told Edexlive that the anti-fee hike protests are beyond the eleven students and the move will only encourage more to protest.
The suspended students have also been asked to pay a fine of Rs 10,000. They are barred from taking admission in the varsity for the next five years and they have been banned from entering the varsity premises.