High drama was witnessed at Punjabi University, Patiala, on Sunday night after students demanding round-the-clock hostel entry for girls barged into the varsity guest house and allegedly held vice-chancellor Prof BS Ghuman and other senior officials hostage for nearly three to five hours till 3am.
The students, who have been protesting over the issue for nearly three weeks, went to the guest house where VC Ghuman, dean (academic affairs) Prof GS Batra, registrar MS Nijjan and others were holding a meeting at around 9:30pm.
The students were angry after the varsity authorities made phone calls to the parents of some girls who are part of the protest. Girl students are not allowed entry into their hostels after 8pm.
The students had heated argument with the officials and a girl even manhandled university provost Nishan Singh Deol for pushing one of the protesters while escorting the VC to his vehicle. After the students refused to budge, Prof Ghuman sat with them on the floor trying to convince them, but to no avail.
A pandemonium-like situation prevailed when he tried to leave. Some of the students started lying on the ground not allowing his vehicle to move.
‘This is no way of holding a protest. We are their teachers, not enemies. When the officials are listening to their demands patiently, why the students are hell bent upon disturbing law and order on the campus,’ said a professor.
Prof Ghuman said they have informed the parents of the students who are violating rules and regulations by not entering their hostels before the stipulated time.
‘Being the custodian of students, we simply informed their parents and did not say anything wrong about them,’ he said.
Gagandeep Kaur, secretary, Democratic Student Organisation, said, ‘Holding a protest is our right and the university has no right to inform our parents. The hostel wardens conveyed objectionable things to our parents about us. We demand a written apology from the authorities,’ she said.
Early Monday morning, the protesting students even locked the VC’s office, restricting the entry of officials or employees. The office remained closed through the day. The heads of all departments held an emergency meeting and condemned the students’ behaviour.
Dean (academic affairs) GS Batra said they have agreed to all demands of the protesting students, barring opening hostels round the clock.