Tribune News Service
Patiala, September 16
Unknown men, probably outsiders, who were reportedly in an inebriated condition, allegedly harassed and assaulted some girl students and also attacked their male classmates on the Punjabi University campus here last night.
With the university security allegedly failing to identify the culprits, who managed to enter and leave the campus, hundreds of students held a nightlong protest against the university authorities.
Various student outfits, including the Punjab Students Union (PSU), Punjab Radical Student Union (PRSU), All-India Research Student Association (AIRSA), Students Federation of India (SFI), PSU (Lalkaar) and the Democratic Student Organisation (DSO), staged a sit-in at the main gate of the university.
Following the protest, the university authorities, including the Dean Students Welfare (DSW), senior warden, security in-charge and the Registrar, reached the protest site and assured the students of strict action against the culprits within 24 hours.
After getting an assurance, the students ended the protest around 5 am. Following a complaint, the police registered a case against unidentified persons under Sections 354, 323, 506, 148, 149 and 341 of the IPC.
According to one of the victims, a group of seven students from the departments of Theatre & Television and Dance, including two boys, were on their way to the hostel around 10 pm when three bike-borne miscreants allegedly teased the girls in their group on the campus.
One of the male students allegedly entered into an argument with the suspects near Homi Baba Hostel and a minor scuffle broke out between both groups. The scuffle ended somehow and the miscreants left the spot. After a few minutes, the suspects, along with six boys, came back to take revenge from the three boys who were accompanying the girls. They thrashed the boys near UFC Food Point, a few metres away from the girls’ hostel. A male student of the Theatre Department received head injuries while a girl of the same department reportedly suffered minor bruises on her hand. The injured students were rushed to Government Rajindra Hospital.
The victims alleged that most of the suspects were drunk and passed lewd remarks at the girls. One of the girls, who received injuries, said: “The suspects wrenched my hand when I tried to stop them from beating our classmates. They also pushed me.”
The victims said if the university authorities did not take any action against the suspects in the next 24 hours, they would block the main gate on Wednesday morning.
“When we approached the hostel security guards, they refused to entertain our repeated pleas,” they said.
Prof Tara Singh, Dean Students Welfare, Punjabi University, said one of the suspects had already been identified through CCTV footage installed at the main gate.
“The main suspect is an outsider. We have already referred the case to the police. We will make more efforts to tighten the security to prevent such incidents,” said Tara Singh.
Gurtej Singh, security in-charge, said: “We are investigating the case from all angles. We have gathered the CCTV footage for investigation.”
Condemning the incident, former Panjab University Campus Students Council president Kanupriya said: “Time and again it has been witnessed that institutes of higher education protect the oppressor instead of the victims. Roots of such incidents are the discriminatory hostel timings.”
Last week, an outsider allegedly committed suicide in the university hostel. While the incident was highlighted in the media, the university authorities are yet to fix responsibility of officials who allowed the boy inside the hostel room.
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