Srinagar- Kashmiri students continued protests for the third consecutive day Saturday inside Punjab’s Desh Bhagat University against the alleged police action on a group of students protesting their transfer to an unapproved and unregistered college located within the varsity campus.
At least 25 Kashmiri students including 22 girls and 3 boys pursuing various paramedical courses were injured on Thursday when police used batons to scuttle their protest inside the Varsity campus. The students were protesting against the DBU authorities over their alleged clandestine transfer to an unapproved and unregistered college located within the varsity campus.
“We staged a protest against our illegal transfer to Sardar Lal Singh College which is not approved by either the Indian Nursing Council (INC) or Punjab Nursing Registration Council (PNRC),” a student, wishing not to be named, told Kashmir Observer over phone.
“The DBU administration in sheer violation of INC admission guidelines exceeded the limit and illegally shifted us to an unapproved college,” he added.
He said that the students continued to protest for the third straight day against unwarranted police action on peaceful students protesting their transfer to an unrecognized college.
Pertinently, nearly 500 students from Kashmir have been pursuing various paramedical courses for the academic session 2020 at the DBU. At least 70 students, majority of them from Kashmir have been shifted to Sardar Lal Singh College, the college within the DBU campus located at Fatehgarh district in Punjab.
Another student told Kashmir Observer that the DBU administration instead of complying with INC admission guidelines, transferred students to an unapproved college without their consent.
Kashmiri students, he said, have been protesting since 2020, but the DBU administration despite assurances have failed to address their genuine concerns.
The DBU, he said, has an intake capacity of only 60 students while 140 students have illegally been enrolled for various paramedical courses, thus putting the future of these students at risk.
“The paramedical courses we pursue at Sardar Lal Singh College are not recognized by INC or PNRC as the college lacks approval of both the bodies that frame policies for nursing courses. We were ruthlessly beaten by the police and the staff. 22 girl students fell unconscious after being injured in the police action, while 3 boys were seriously hurt,” the student alleged.
Despite repeated texts and calls, Vice-Chancellor Desh Bhagat University Punjab Dr Harsh Sadawarti could not be contacted.
However a senior official at DBU, wishing not to be named, told Kashmir Observer that the Punjab government has taken serious cognizance of the issue.
“The students have appraised the administration about their issues and that they have assured action in case their allegations of assault and illegal transfer to an unapproved college proved genuine. Talks between the administration and student representatives are on at the moment,” he added.
Meanwhile Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president and former chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti has condemned baton charge on female students protesting against the DBU’s decision to transfer Kashmiri students without their consent.
“Lathi charging Kashmiri students and misbehaving with girls for protesting against a university that’s wrecked their future is completely uncalled for. Request @BhagwantMann ji to kindly look into this matter. Such actions alienate Kashmiris even further,” Mehbooba Mufti wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
Several Sikh organizations in Kashmir have expressed solidarity with Kashmiri students pursuing various paramedical courses in DBU Punjab and condemned in strong words the police action against female students.
Punjab Parties Take Up Issue With CM Mann
Meanwhile the opposition parties in Punjab have taken serious note of the assault on female Kashmiri students at Desh Bhagat University on Thursday and have demanded thorough investigation into the matter.
Pratap Singh Bajwa, leader of the opposition in Punjab also has also sought an urgent action against those at fault for safeguarding the future of the Kashmiri students at DBU.
Bajwa in a letter dated September 15, 2023 to Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has sought thorough investigation into the allegations of exceeding an intake capacity of admission by the University.
“I am forwarding a representation dated 15th September 2023, submitted by the Jammu and Kashmir Students Association, Srinagar, drawing attention to the distressing situation wherein these students were unilaterally transferred to Sardar Lal Singh College, an affiliate of Desh Bhagat University, without their consent. This transfer allegedly occurred because the University exceeded the admission quota set by the regulatory bodies,” reads the letter, copy of which is with Kashmir Observer.
Bajwa, who also represents Qadian Assembly Constituency, has said that Sardar Lal Singh College lacks recognition from the INC and Punjab Nursing Registration Council, thus endangering the academic and professional prospects of these students.
The opposition leader has also proposed some measures to the government for safeguarding the future of the Kashmiri students pursuing various paramedical courses in the varsity.
Meanwhile Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state president, Ravinder Raina said the matter has been taken up with the Union Home Minister and that necessary action will be taken in this regard.
Responding to a question after visiting slain DySP’s Srinagar residence, Raina said “I have taken up the matter with the Union Home Minister and that necessary action will be taken. Injustice cannot be tolerated, if meted out to anyone”
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