Ludhiana : Students of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) on Wednesday protested against the authorities’ proposal to implement a dress code on the campus from the next academic session. Students unanimously said that after the car and phone ban, they were being harassed with new policies.
Nearly 500 students gathered at the PAU Student’s Home at 1pm and discussed the issues they were facing. Later, at 1.45pm, they reached the Hospital Chowk and blocked the naka and roads towards Gate 2. More than hundreds of two-wheelers and cars were denied the entry into the campus. The cars also included those of government bodies, high-ranking police officials, and income tax personnel.

Boycotting the classes, students raised the slogans ‘Students union zindabad’ and ‘Dhakke shahi nahi chalegi’. Sitting on dharna until late in the evening, they allowed only school vehicles to pass. Gurinder Singh, president of Punjab Agriculture University Students Association (Pausa), said: “Kukal sir, dean College of Agriculture, addressed the college students in an advisory meeting last Wednesday in the Pal Auditorium at 2.30pm, and students of home science in the Wheat Auditorium at 12.30pm about the new decision to implement the dress code. University students have to follow this rule from the next semester. Sir also stated this would be published in the prospectus, and it will be compulsory. If students do not want to wear a uniform, then they should not take admission in PAU.”

Further expressing resentment, Gurinder added: “Students of PAU Regional Research Station at Gurdaspur and Bathinda have been forced to wear a uniform. Boys wear white shirt and grey pants with turban of red colour, while girls wear grey suit with white salwar. I believe the same uniform will be applicable here.”

Another student, Karanvir Singh Sandhu, who is pursuing Phd in Extension Education, highlighted: “It is high time we save our university from becoming a Punjab agricultural school, as there are many decisions being forcefully implemented on students.”

Dr Surinder Singh Kukal, dean of College of Agriculture (also in-charge of College of Basic Sciences) said: “I have talked about the benefits of a dress code, and the discipline and uniformity in the advisory meeting with students. There is no such proposal of making the dress compulsory in the campus by the authorities. They are raising the issue, as their demand for a rollback on the car ban is not being accepted by the authorities. The university’s prime focus is improving the quality of studies. Students were told to avoid the use of phones during lectures, but there is no total phone ban. We cannot snatch phones if students are carrying them in their pockets.”

He added: “Out of 4,000 students, about 40 students possess cars, and these 1% are protesting against the issue of car ban. A majority of students have been misled by these students, and they have created a hype against university regulations. They are exploiting studious students. In fact, it is not only the university’s decision, but even parents approach me and tell us not to take back the decision of car ban, as students force their parents to take their cars from home.”

PAU vice-chancellor Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon said: “There is no proposal of the dress code being implemented in the university as of now.”

STUDENT ISSUES & DEMANDS

Bans galore

1. Announcement by dean, College of Agriculture, in an advisory meeting about introducing a dress code from the next semester.

2. Ban on the cars of students and their parents. In contrast, all other four-wheelers are allowed.

3. Ban on carrying mobile phones in lecture halls.

4. Ban on parking of two-wheelers opposite Nescafe kiosk.

Rollback pleas

1. Dress code should not be implemented.

2. Students should be given car passes, and parents should be allowed in the campus.

3. Roll back the decision on phone ban.

4. No VIP treatment of government officials and their cars passing through the campus.

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