Jalandhar, June 5
“Rest in peace late Vivek Kumar”, reads a poster on the PTU campus as hundreds of students gathered to pay tributes on campus this evening.
We reached the campus to facilitate a truce since students continued to protest this morning. They alleged negligence on the part of the administration for Vivek’s death, but no such negligence was found. They have also demanded proper investigation into his death and that his family be compensated. We have assured them that their demands have been noted. — Surinder Singh, DSP, Kapurthala
The death of 22-year-old Vivek Kumar, a second-year electrical engineering student at IK Gujral Punjab Technical University, Kapurthala, sparked a protest at the PTU hostel late on Saturday night. Students took out a candle march in continuation of their agitation against the student’s death this evening.
Vivek Kumar, who had been ill for two days, collapsed while filling water from a water cooler at his hostel on Saturday afternoon. He was rushed to the Civil Hospital where he died within half an hour of being shifted to the medical care ward, as per PTU authorities.
Over 500 to 600 irate students blamed the university authorities for the delay in his treatment and blocked the Jalandhar-Kapurthala highway on Saturday night. As girls could not come out yesterday due to timing issues, they took out a candle march today.
A diligent and hardworking student, Vivek, who hails from Madhubani district in Bihar, comes from a poor family. His father is a labourer based in Muscat and his mother could not come to Jalandhar from Madhubani at such a short notice. Vivek’s uncle (mother’s brother) took his body back to Bihar. Students said Vivek came from Jai Nagar (near the border) area of Madhubani district, with a dream to become an engineer.
The students protested till this morning, it was finally at 7.30 am that students were pacified and sent back to hostels.
A second-year student alleged, “The incident happened at 4 pm on Saturday. The boy suddenly collapsed outside his room and fell ill after which we provided first aid to him. We then called the college ambulance which is parked in the dispensary. But due to delay in the arrival of the ambulance, the boy could not be taken to hospital and died. We called the caretaker, who too arrived and called the dispensary. But the ambulance reached the hostel after one hour and by the time he was no more.”
He said, “A day ago, he had some stomach problem for which medicine was taken from the dispensary which provided him some relief. But he fell ill again yesterday. We demand that accountability be fixed for the death of the child on whoever is responsible. We have also made a request to the college regarding the same.”
A first-year student alleged, “There is much anger among students because of the death of the student. He stayed on the fifth floor which gets very hot. Around 500 to 600 boys from hostels protested last night. Tonight girls also took out a candle march for the deceased student.”
Deputy Registrar, Public Relations, IK Gujral Punjab Technical University, Rajneesh Sharma said, “The student was duly attended and the authorities themselves took him to the Civil Hospital. As far as students’ demand for compensation is concerned, we can’t compensate for death by natural causes. The true reason for the death will be clearer by the post-mortem report. But we will appeal to the government if need be for compensation. The university has borne all expenditure for the boy’s body’s flight to Patna. A four-member committee is also looking into the incident and will submit a report within a week.” Sharma said, “Students who chose non-AC accommodation have only been kept at the non-AC buildings.”
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