50 injured in students-police clash in PU; sedition charge slapped

Chandigarh, (IANS): Around 50 people, including students, police personnel and even journalists, were injured as students, protesting a massive fee hike for various courses, clashed with police on the Panjab University campus here on Tuesday.

Police took over 50 students into custody and slapped sedition charge on those indulging in violence.

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Tension prevails on the campus following the clashes.

Some of the nearly half-a-dozen media persons injured in the clashes had to be rushed to hospitals here with serious injuries.

Police resorted to baton charge, use of water cannons and tear-gas to disperse the agitatators who had gathered near the Vice Chancellor’s Office complex.

The protesting students pelted stones at the police and broke window panes and flower-pots and damaged other university property.

Later, a few students, who were being chased by the police, entered a gurdwara on the campus and took refuge there. Police officials surrounded the shrine to get the students out.

Teaching was affected in several departments on the Sector 14 campus of the university due to the protest shutdown called by the students.

The fee hike was being opposed by the Students for Society (SFS) and other student organisations, including Panjab University Students Union (PUSU), Students of Panjab University (SOPU) and Students Organisation of India (SOI).

The fee hike, to be applicable from the coming (2017-18) academic session, is over 1,000 per cent in some courses.

University authorities said that they were forced to hike the fees for various courses following directions from the Union Human Resource Development Ministry and the University Grants Commission.

The university has been grappling with financial crisis for the last two-three years with grants from the Centre and the Punjab government not coming regularly.