Published: 18th March 2023
Kerala: Students stage gherao at Gov't Law College; teacher injured
The professor filed a complaint with Thiruvananthapuram's Museum police, alleging manhandling
Members of the Students' Federation of India (SFI) staged a gherao at Government Law College, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, on Thursday, March 16. Sanju VK, a professor of the college, who had sustained injuries after being allegedly manhandled during the protest, has filed a complaint with the city's Museum police.
Sanju and 20 other teachers were gheraoed by the SFI members alleging discrimination in initiating disciplinary action against another student body, the Kerala Student Union (KSU). Tension has been simmering at the Law College as the union election was notified to be held on March 24, as mentioned in a report by The New Indian Express.
On Tuesday, March 14, SFI members attacked KSU members and vandalised the flags put up by them. KSU members, including women, were allegedly injured in the attack. In contrast, on March 15, SFI also claimed that their women members were attacked by a group of KSU members and filed a police complaint.
SFI has been demanding disciplinary action against KSU since. However, the college management retrieved a video of the March 14 incident. A staff council, consisting of 21 teachers, including Sanju, held a meeting and based on the CCTV footage, initiated disciplinary action against 24 SFI members for vandalising the KSU flagposts.
A teacher, who attended the staff council meeting, said that those involved in the vandalism were identified from the visuals with the help of the teachers. "The faces of some of the students were blurred. Such students were omitted and those whose faces could be easily recognised by the teachers were suspended," he added.
This triggered SFI and resulted in an almost 12-hour-long (12.30 - 11.30 pm) gherao on Thursday. The members have alleged favouritism on the part of the teachers towards KSU, as per TNIE.
"There is no truth in the allegation raised by the SFI. In the past, actions were also taken against KSU members. The day after the college union election date was declared, there was a clash between the KSU and SFI members. The vandalism of the KSU flagpost and flags was caught on CCTV and based on that the staff council decided to suspend the SFI members," Sanju said.
"The SFI members had also filed a complaint against KSU members. But there were no CCTV visuals of the incident. We had promised the agitators that action will be taken against the KSU members if we find any evidence against them during the inquiry," she added.
The professor mentions that outsiders also took part in the gherao and in the previous incident on Tuesday. College Principal R Bijukumar has also filed a police complaint against these outsiders.
Speaking about what happened during the gherao, Sanju told that she was feeling suffocated inside a room, where she had been for a long time due to the gherao. As she was going out of the room, the SFI members pulled her by her arm, resulting in injury to her neck and arm.
More than the injury, the professor said that she was hurt by the way the students had behaved. "They are law students and are supposed to uphold law and justice. But they have belittled all the ideals that they should stand for. They have indeed sent a wrong message to their fellow classmates and the society," she said, as per TNIE.