Jalandhar, May 26
Students of various colleges today held a dharna at the BSF chowk protesting against the state government on various issues related to the post-matric scholarship scheme. Videos of an activist being beaten up also went viral as the police later briefly detained and let off the students. While students also alleged a lathi-charge, the police denied it saying the activist being beaten up wasn’t a student and that none of the protesters were lathi-charged.
Akali leader Pawan Tinu also reached the spot and expressed solidarity with the students, condemning the police action. The Jalandhar administration has assured the students a meeting with the Deputy Commissioner over the issue on Monday.
Over a hundred students and activists gathered at the BSF chowk in Jalandhar today to protest against the denial of post-matric scholarship scheme benefits. The prime demands of the students included the release of full amount of the scholarship scheme to colleges and that colleges stop harassing SC students in the name of seeking fee from them.
The protesters also alleged that at least three students have been prevented from appearing in an exam in Jalandhar over the pending fee issue recently.
They alleged that two of the male students were stopped from appearing for a law exam in the name of unpaid fees and a girl student at another college was not allowed to appear in the exam for the same reason. After detention, they raised slogans outside the New Baradari police station.
Activist Navdeep Dakoha, who was one of the protestors, said, “We had meetings with the CM during and before the Jalandhar Lok Sabha bypoll in which speedy action was assured. We also met the Jalandhar DC and the issue was marked to the ADC but no action was taken. A huge chunk of the post-matric scholarship scheme fee of 2,47,000 students who had applied lies pending. The amount is yet to be paid. On top of it, despite protests and submission of memorandums, students are continuously harassed by the colleges to pay fees. Three of the students were not allowed to appear for the exams in Jalandhar over non-payment of fee despite court directions that the students can’t be harassed. Rather than release the money, the students are being acted against.”
Dakoha alleged, “We were forced to protest today due to consistent inaction. Activists including me were beaten up and some girls were detained by the police. They were later dropped near Adampur and let off. and Seven of the male protestors were also taken to the police station but released later. We are not scared of FIRs but we demand that colleges stop harassing students for fees and roll numbers.”
Speaking on police charges that he was not a student, Dakoha said, “Many students were there with me. I have also just passed out three months ago and will apply for another course now. Does that mean, I can’t take up this important issue?”
Ravinder Kumar, SHO, New Baradari police station, said, “We did not detain or beat any students. Some mischievous elements who aren’t students are instigating the students to stop traffic resulting in inconvenience to the people. They could use other peaceful means but they stopped traffic, including an ambulance. The police only pacified them and no FIR or charges were pressed. They were also let off shortly. No girls were detained.”
Asked about the viral video of a student being beaten up, the SHO said, “They weren’t students of any college.”
SAD leader Pawan Tinu said, “Rather than act against the complaints of students, police took action against the students and dragged and beat them up. Some boys were also detained. Action should be against those holding back the money and against colleges which harass students. We condemn the police action and stand by the students. Even if some were non-students, is it a crime to demand that their fee be paid?”
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