After a protest against fee hike in Panjab University the campus turned violent as the agitators clashed with police, forcing the latter to use force, resulting in injuries to both sides. Some mediapersons were also injured during the protest. Around fifty two students were arrested following the clash.
After registering a case of rioting and damage to public property against the protesting students, police have arrested 52 students out of the 66 identified by the university authorities, police said.
The agitating students wanted to hold talks with Vice Chancellor Arun Kumar Grover on the fee hike issue as they were observing "PU Bandh" against the recent hike.
When the students were not called for discussion, they tried to forcibly enter the VC office in the varsity campus by jumping the barricades set up by police.
Police resorted to water cannons to disperse the angry students. The situation turned violent when students allegedly started pelting stones and flower pots at cops, forcing the police to lathi charge and lob tear gas shells, leading to injuries to several students including girls.
Several student bodies including Students for Society(SFS), National Students Union of India (NSUI), Punjab University Students Union (PUSU) had given a joint call for 'Panjab University Bandh' in protest against the fee hike.
"We resorted to use force after students turned violent," UT Chandigarh SP Eish Singhal said, adding that somepolice vehicles were also damaged.
"On our side 22 cops sustained injuries," SP said. "We have arrested 52 students so far for rioting and damaging public property," he said.
After police used force, some protesting students tookshelter in a Gurdwara situated on the campus.
Earlier, the protesting students boycotted classes. Some students could also be seen forcing the shops to close.
Some photo journalists and reporters who were covering the protest have also sustained injuries allegedly caused by police cane charge.
Chandigarh Press Club strongly condemned the alleged lathi charge by the police on photographers and journalists. In a release issued here, the Press Club's president Jaswant Rana and Secretary General Barinder Singh Rawat along with the governing council members demanded inquiry intothe incident and registration of FIR against those police personal who were involved in lathi charge.
A delegation of the Chandigarh Press Club will meet the UT Administrator, UT Adviser and UT IGP in this regard to takestrict action against those involved in this incident, the release said.
The students have been protesting against the "significant" hike in tuition fee announced by the PU senate last month for the 2017-18 academic year.
In some courses, the fee hike was steep. In the B Pharmacourse, the fee was raised from Rs 5,080 to Rs 50,000 and in MA (journalism) course, the fee was hiked from Rs 5290 to Rs30,000. For PU's dental course, the fees was increased from Rs86,400 to Rs 1.50 lakh.
With the students demanding rollback of the fee hike, thePU had justified the average 12.5 per cent hike whileconsidering the financial condition of the university as theit has anticipated a deficit of Rs 244 crore for the financialyear 2017-18.