April 12, 2017 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Chandigarh: In less than 24 hours after registration of a sedition case against the students, the Chandigarh (UT) police today dropped the ‘sedition’ charges. Confirming the development, Investigating Officer (IO) of this case told Sikh Siyasat News (SSN) over phone that the students were protesting against the University authorities and not against the “authority of the state”, Punjab government or UT administration therefore the charges were dropped.
The Chandigarh police and the UT administration was under strong criticism for framing sedition charges against students who were protesting against hike in fees.
“Punjab University administration clarified that the protesters were speaking up against the university authorities only, so we dropped the sedition charges”, said he.
He, however, clarified that the other charges against the students still stands.
Notably, various student groups held a massive protest during the PU Bandh yesterday. The situation turned out of control when the police tried to suppress the protest with the use of force, water cannons and teargas. In response to the police action, students resorted to stone-pelting.
The clash left over 60 students, cops and journalists injured — at least four of them critical.
As per reports fifty-two students were taken in police custody on Tuesday (April 11), out of 66 named in the FIR.
The fee hike, set to come into effect from the 2017-18 academic session, is said to be necessitated in the wake of a financial crisis being faced by Panjab University, which has led to up to 1,100 per cent increase in fee of some courses.
In some courses, the fee hike was steep. In the B Pharma course, the fee was raised from Rs 5,080 to Rs 50,000 and in MA (journalism) course, the fee was hiked from Rs 5,290 to Rs 30,000. For PU’s dental course, the fees was increased from Rs 86,400 to Rs 1.5 lakh.
The Union Ministry for Human Resource Development (MHRD) and the University Grants Commission (UGC) had been pressing Panjab University authorities to increase income from internal resources in order to raise funds.
A case under 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 3 of Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, has been registered against the accused at Sector 11 police station. Initially the students were also charged with sections 124-A (sedition), which is dropped now.