College polls are back, so is campus violence
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Last week, Aligarh Muslim University Vice-Chancellor Lt Gen (retired) Zameer Uddin Shah wrote an open letter to students warning them about a 'katta' (country-made pistol) culture which has spread on campus and 'goondas' staying in university halls. He blamed the students' union for the increasing indiscipline. However, AMU is not an exception.
Of the 13 state universities, at least six have seen an increase in campus violence and hooliganism after the Samajwadi Party government decided to revive student unions. Some, like Lucknow, Gorakhpur and AMU, have had firings. Teachers of DAV College, Kanpur, were beaten up by so-called student leaders. Allahabad University, a central university, has witnessed even crude bombs being hurled by clashing student groups.
"After the declaration of students' union elections, the disturbances on campuses have been on the rise. Cases of assault on teachers have been reported, as a result insecurities have increased. The government's indifference has not helped matters," said professor P R Yadav, Vice-President, Federation of Uttar Pradesh University and College Teachers Association.
Here, in brief, is the state of affairs at some of the universities:
On March 8, a student named Eshwar Chandra Pandey was assaulted and fired at by a group of students, including expelled student leaders Upendra Pratap Singh and Vaibhav Singh. Pandey lodged an FIR against four people, including the two expelled leaders and two students. "This was the first incident of firing on the campus in many years," said professor Pawan Agarwal, Chief Proctor. There is no student union in the university as the matter is pending in the high court.
In March last year, a group of youths, led by members of Samajwadi Party's students' wing Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha and BJP-backed ABVP, damaged the then V-C Manoj Kumar Mishra's car while protesting against a large number of students failing in the third semester due to "faulty evaluation".