HPU Campus: Student protest gains momentum against ADN Bajpai’s dictorial politics, demands his removal
Was the whole incident a pre-planned conspiracy to dissolve SCA, and thus, get rid of continuous student protests against corrupt practices? Isn’t it a paradox that these students are ought to receive higher education, but they aren’t allowed to make use of it to help correct the errors in the system?
SHIMLA- On Monday, the HPU campus witnessed another massive student protest lead by SCA, and almost the same scene, the cops and the Rapid Action Force barricade the gate, was repeated. The students settle down on the road, clap, and the student leaders strip off the helpless top cops and VC with sarcastic speeches like it happened in their last protest on Saturday. Now, the student community is upto chasing away the Prof. ADN Bajapi, whom the SCA claim to be the most corrupt and dictatorial VC HPU ever had. Students conveyed it very clearly to the authorities that the SCA no more wants to negotiate with VC, but want his removal as the VC of HPU.
This time, however, the SCA lead student protest grew larger and more aggressive. The continuous ignorance towards the demands of the student community, misuse of police to suppress their voice, and the recent and odd decision to dissolve HPU SCA after a scuffle between the students over eve-teasing fueled the student movement against administrative corruption. Now, the battle between the HPU Student Central Association (SCA) and the authorities seems to has gained momentum after the Vice Chancellor defies his own words he had given to SCA in response to the student protest staged on last Saturday.
Take a look at the video, listen to the blanket bombing of allegations and questions by the student leaders. After the VC and authorities, DSP Shiv Chaudhary was the second most hit target by the student leaders. DSP Shiv Chaudhary was commanding the police troop and was very much present to hear all of it.
The students were forced to vacate the library before the actual allowed hours. The angry students asked why the authorities are trying to impose emergency measures on all the students. What upset the SCA most was that they weren’t allowed to stage protests or to talk, negotiate with the authorities, and to express their unrest with the existing, inefficient, and anti-student policies.
The varsity has been transformed into a prison, which is under continuous watch under heavy police security. The authorities are resorting to the use of police and Rapid Action Force to stop student protestors from entering the campus.
It appears like a scuffle annoyed the Vice Chancellor ADN Bajpai, but if you care to associate the chain of events from the very time Prof. AND Bajpai joined HPU as its new VC , then you’ll realize how lethal wounds politics has inflicted on student’s democratic rights. It’s your misconception that HP varsity will be better place without the student organizations or after abolition of SCA elections.
HW is least interested in serving officially censored press notes. We believe transparency is base of the so called fourth pillar of any democracy; the media. With the same spirit, HW pays special attention to one of the most important community in Himachal; HPU students, the real hub of young guns, fully equipped with education and capable of deploying force, if required. However, the ready-made perception served by the authorities and the media presents student organization/politics as a cause of nuisance and violence in the higher educational institutes.
Most of us end up believing in the same perception that emphasize the question asking why students’ waste time in politics when they are ought to study and receive higher education. Why they always keep protesting instead of concentrating on studies? It’s a kind of paradox that these students are ought to receive education, but they aren’t allowed to make use of it to help correct the errors in the administration or to make sure that political corruption doesn’t deprive those who actually deserved to be in the HPU, as student or as employees.
Now, leave the SCA statement aside and take look at some interesting facts about the decision the VC to dissolve the SCA through unconstitutional means. First, no show cause notice was given to SCA, thus, depriving the students of their right to fair opportunity to defend themselves with an explanation. Second, we have immediate arrest, rustication, and decision to dissolve the SCA in a haste, without waiting for any type of investigation or inquiry. Third, the step to dissolve the SCA was taken in a time when the HPU authorities and the Govt. were facing continuous protest for their mismanagement of resources, misuse of police by the authorities to terrorize the students, and the fee hike in case of admission forms, which were made available online for the first time. Last month, SCA held a massive rally against the bullying behavior of Shimla Police DSP, Shiv Chaudhary, whom students alleged to be drunk and of abusing the students during a surprise police raid in HPU hostels.
HW talked to the eyewitnesses including the shopkeepers to get a better idea of why SCA resorted to violent means against the NSUI members, who were alleged to indulge in eve-teasing in the campus.
According to them, a girl student accompanied the NSUI members while they passed vulgar comments and even threw tiny stones on the girl students passing by. As a response to the complaint from the girls (eyewitnesses), when a few SCA members asked them to leave the campus with a warning, the goons denied to cooperate and provoked the SCA members to use physical force to drive them out of the varsity gate. A remark by one o the alleged students saying, “Apni sarkaar hai, hum chanhe to ladkiyon ko uth bhi sakte hain”, lead to outburst of anger, which resulted in a scuffle. We wonder, how come NSUI, which is mostly passively active or is simply inactive, suddenly dared to provoke and create violent atmosphere?
Nothing much on the name of clash as compared to the past incidents, but it was a matter of some slaps. Yet, six HPU students including SCA members were rusticated, put in jail, and the SCA is dissolved without any inquiry on the FIR lodged by the self-claimed victims.
Then, we have dictatorial decision by VC to limit the library timings to 5 pm, which was 9 PM earlier, and to prohibit the guest students in girl hostels while about 250 girls were forced to pay 60 -75 rupee each day as a guest because the University could not provide them with hostels. From the past half-decade, the HPU isn’t able to complete the construction of new girl hostels despite a huge pile requests and protests from the students.
The girl students are forced to pay guest fee or they have no option but to pay 4-5 thousand on outside, private accommodation. The facilities at both girls and boys hostels are no better than worthless. The university couldn’t even provide the students with proper internet facility while the use of web by students as a mean of information is increasing. The students pay for cyber café, they pay for the print out of the admission forms, which is just a pdf file, and then they are made to pay about Rs. 450 more for accepting it. The students asked the authorities to explain and justify this fee when the varsity is no more printing the admission forms. Moreover, the admission form was put online with a careless attitude. As a result of which students are facing confusions regarding various courses and their fees.
When the SCA, a student body elected through democratic polling under strict security, take a stand against the inefficiency and the faults of the administration, it’s labeled as nuisance, a subject to use of force (police).
For the public too, it appears a nuisance and the responsibility is mostly forced on the student organizations for their violent behavior. Student organizations are seen as the undercover agents of their respective patron political parties, which is indeed true. But, then no one can claim that HPU administration and faculties are clean, away from the influence of presently prevailing corrupt political trends. The Govt. and the political personalities enjoy privilege to influence and interfere in the administration of HPU.
Do you really believe that the HPU authorities are clean enough to be left unchecked? The expenditure on HPU including all affiliated colleges is huge. The Govt.’s frequent attempts and hints show their inclination towards the privatization of higher education. HPU offers a wide range of option to let corrupt enjoy privilege over those who actually deserved the benefits. There is a vast scope of corruption ranging from backdoor student entries for various courses to the recruitment of employees, hike in admission fee, university bus fare, hostel fees etc.
The Govt., the HPU authorities, and most of the politically ignorant public advocate a ban on SCA election meant to provide a democratic institute to help student community speak of its demands and grievances. This democratically elected student body is responsible for the protection of the student interests and rights. Why is it so that the political science and laws are taught as subjects to the same students, but they aren’t allowed to make use of it? This educated young blood of Himachal carries the real potential to reform the corrupt democracy. It’s so idiotic to consider the tudent organizations and their political activity as inappropriate.
HPU represents whole Himachal as it has students from every corner of Himachal. That’s not because it is very popular, but because it is the only Govt. varsity in Himachal. The Govts. have always been, and are still corrupt in India. We all know it, accept it, and have even evolved to adapt to this corrupt governance.
However, there are some souls which deny to submit, accept and adapt to this mal-functioning democracy. It’s a great challenge to speak and stand by the truth in a country like ours. There isn’t any doubt that the police force is best agent to terrorize, thus, to suppress those who show resistance to a dictatorial authority . But, the policemen, even the top cops, are mere spades in the malicious political battlefield. They are pushed to use force or to create terror of legalities among the politically illiterate public, which is either unaware of their fundamental rights or are afraid of suppression. However, at HPU, these tactics fails to do the job as here the battle isn’t with helpless, but with the educated and empowered youth of Himachal.
HPU campus hardly sees moments of peace. The news reports of protests, rallies and student clashes in HPU campus are regular sights in dailies. The reason isn’t the student organizations or SCA. It’s the inefficiency of the administration, its preference to political interests over student welfare. No surprise that the administration avoids discussion with the students and rather sent for the cops and Rapid Action Force when confronted with a protest. The excess of security that the VC has assigned to himself is also questionable.
Is the police or the use of force make a appropriate solution when dealing with educated and aware student community? It’ll only lead to more unrest and suffocation among students, which is sure to find a vent through even bigger protests.