Patiala University protest ends with coordinator's removal after student's tragic death
Protest at Patiala University ends as professor removed from coordinator's post following student's death
Punjabi University took a significant step by removing Prof Surjit Singh from his role as coordinator of the Five-Year Integrated Programme (FYIP) on Monday. This decision followed allegations of mental harassment against the professor, which reportedly contributed to a female student's untimely demise on September 14.
The move came as a response to mounting protests by various student unions and the grieving family of the deceased student. These demonstrations had demanded accountability and justice for the alleged harassment that the student faced.
Prof Surjit Singh, who is presently hospitalized in Patiala after a physical altercation with students, is set to face suspension upon his return to duty, as he is currently on medical leave.
Committee formed to investigate
To address the concerns of the protesting students, a two-member committee led by a retired additional sessions judge, Jaswinder Singh, was formed to investigate the incident. Responding to the students' requests, the district administration and university officials included Dr. Harshinder Kaur, a woman pediatrician from Government Rajindra Hospital, as a committee member.
Additionally, the authorities assured students that the probe would be completed within 21 days.
Further actions promised
In response to the students' demands, the district administration and university officials have pledged to investigate and report on the FIR filed against the students allegedly involved in the assault on the professor. The administration is also considering offering employment to the deceased student's family on compassionate grounds.
All these decisions were made following a meeting between the district administration, led by Patiala DC Sakshi Sawhney and Patiala SSP Varun Sharma, and the leaders of the protesting student unions, in the presence of Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor Prof Arvind.
The protests, marked by heavy police presence, eventually subsided after these assurances from the authorities.
The grieving father of the deceased student, Harcharan Singh, emphasized that his daughter was a bright student who had aspirations to crack the UPSC examination alongside her regular studies. He called for the professor to be held accountable for allegedly subjecting his daughter to mental harassment.