In the last five years, more than 100 leaders have been detained for violence
Chandigarh, Sep 1 A bulletproof armoured vehicle and commandos with automatic weapons,
600 security personnel and sealed gates, post-midnight raids on hostels and over
100 closed circuit television cameras (CCTVs)... this is not a riot zone but the scene
at the Panjab University (PU) where student elections are being held Friday.
Ahead of elections to the Panjab University Central Students Council (PUCSC), the
533 acre campus is nothing less than a battlefield with university authorities and
Chandigarh Police unwilling to take chances with the law and order situation.
Given the bloody trail of clashes between students organisations, groups and leaders
in recent years, the election for office bearers of PUCSC and departmental representatives
are taking place under the strict eye of the law.
Two of three gates into the university have been sealed till the election process
‘The security this time for the elections is much tighter as we do not want to take
any chances. We have installed over 100 CCTV cameras. Nearly 600 security personnel
are on duty,’ PU security head P.K. Dhawan told IANS.
Last week, police and PU officials knocked at the doors of hostellers, especially
the boys hostels, at midnight or early in the day and rounded up nearly 100 youngsters
staying their illegally.
‘We have given a list of 120 notorious students to PU authorities whose activities
need to be watched,’ Sector 11 station house officer (SHO) Gurmukh Singh told IANS.
Police booked 35 student leaders in 2011 following clashes. In the last five years,
more than 100 leaders have been detained for violence.
The main active groups on the campus include the PU Students Union (PUSU), Students
Organization of PU (SOPU), Indian National Students Organization (INSO) and the
Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
Entry to the campus, the main one located in Sector 14, has been restricted. Every
vehicle is checked and the young have to show their identity and explain the purpose
of visit. Student leaders are livid.
‘This security is unwarranted. The authorities have put unnecessary restrictions
on campaigning. The election has been robbed of the colourful atmosphere,’ SOPU
leader Robin Brar said. PU officials defend the restrictions.
‘This year, the campaigning has been peaceful so far because of the security,’ dean
for students' welfare Amrik Singh Ahluwalia said. Not everyone agrees.
‘This kind of security is not required. The authorities should understand
that besides the students, hundreds of other residents, including teachers and other
staff, live on the campus. They get harassed unnecessarily,’ PU Teachers Association
(PUTA) president Akshay Kumar said. Of the over 13,420 voters on the campus, 70
percent are young women.
Courtesy: News One