Thursday, February 28, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Alarm bells ring for Ahluwalia
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 27
Alarm bells have started ringing for the Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, Dr J. S. Ahluwalia, who is facing a rough weather on the campus for various reasons.

Not only students but a section of the university employees and a large number of top ranking politicians belonging to different political hues have sought his removal.

Seemingly well aware about the recent happenings and controversies on the university campus, the new Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, immediately after the swearing-in ceremony, said that he would take strong action in the case. “I feel very strongly about the university and ask officers concerned to submit a detailed report about it,” Capt Amarinder Singh said.

“People on responsible positions should not behave in manner the Vice-Chancellor of the Punjabi University has done,” Capt Amarinder Singh further added.

Though controversies of administrative nature have remained an integral part of Punjabi University, this time it is facing a different sort of crisis having ethical and moral aspects.

At the heart of the controversy is the dignity and honour of certain girl students.

The charges of “exploitation” of girl students are flying thick and high on the campus. Even a case has been registered in this connection by the Patiala police against the Vice-Chancellor and certain members of the university faculty.

Supporters of the Vice-Chancellor say that the allegations against him regarding exploitation of girls were baseless and politically motivated. Mr D.S. Dhillon, president of the Punjabi University Teachers Association, said as the Mr Ahluwalia’s term was about to be completed in a few months and those in the race to replace him were behind the agitation seeking his removal. Mr Dhillon said allegations like exploitation of women should have not been levelled against the VC.

When asked how far it was justified to take the girls to various places at university functions for performing the task of decoration, he said it should not have been done.

He said this task should have been assigned to members of fine arts faculty and if any girl voluntarily opted to participate in the decoration, she should be allowed to do so.

But on the other side, Mr N.S. Attri, secretary of PUTA, said all “activities” of the VC on the campus since he took over the job should be probed. As moral and ethical issues were involved, Mr Ahluwalia should proceed on leave till the completion of inquiry against him.

He said he had sought an appointment with the Chancellor of the university, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob, to request him to send the VC on leave following the registration of a criminal case against him.

Mr Attri alleged teachers on the campus had been targeted by the VC on selective basis. A joint committee has been formed to continue agitation against him.

Students, members of the faculty, non-teaching staff and representatives of trade unions from outside along with certain political leaders supported the rally, which was held on the campus against the VC yesterday. Students from far away colleges like Amritsar, Malerkotla, Nabha, etc attended the rally.

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