Wardha, Dec 1 (IANS): Incidents of stray violence and protests involving students and staffers have marred the campus tranquility of the prestigious Central institution, the Mahatma Gandhi Antarashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya (MGAHV) over the past few days.
The unrest started after some law course students raised apprehensions that the LLB court at MGAHV was not accredited with the Bar Council of India (BCI), and demanded to know the status from the university authorities.
The students sought the accreditation details from the university authorities in writing, but claimed they were not given any satisfactory replies and were instead hounded for raising the issue.
This led to heated arguments with the staffers, protests on the campus which the students claimed were sought to be crushed by the Proctor Dharvesh Katheria and Dr. Yogendra Babu Rathod.
The students accused the Katheria-Rathod duo of allegedly beating some of them and ordering the campus security guards to assault them for the protests, and Rathod even confiscated the mobile of one student and asked him to format it (delete all data) or he would destroy it.
However, when contacted by IANS, Katheria and Rathod vehemently denied the students' allegations and said they were merely trying to enforce security on the campus that was breached by some ex-students and certain anti-social elements - but they did not identify them.
Rathod categorically said he had not confiscated the student's cellphone, and in turn blamed several students of "beating the teachers, including some lady teachers with chappals".
Strangely, Katheria alleged that "some of the students had reportedly indulged in life-threatening attacks on the teachers and they deployed the security for their defence and safety".
The Katheria-Rathod duo claimed that "groups of students were prowling around the campus, instigating other students, threatening the assaulting the teachers and creating mayhem all around".
However, the students rubbished the same and countered by asking "why the CCTV cameras installed at key locations have been abruptly disconnected", including the spots where the security had attacked the students at the behest of the staffers, and asked why the VC is being kept in the dark of the situation on the campus.
The Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Nagpur Director Bhimaraya Metri - who is holding Additional Charge as Vice-Chancellor of MGAHV -admitted he was concerned by the goings-on at the campus owing to “some erroneous information”.
"Contrary to perceptions, the MGAHV's law course has been given BCI's due accreditation, and the university's name will also figure on their lists shortly. There is some wrong information spread by someone that has created the misunderstandings... I am looking into it," Metri told IANS.
On the students' allegations of violence perpetrated by certain varsity bigwigs, Metri was apologetic and said he would speak with the concerned staffers (Kasheria-Rathod) and try to restore normalcy on the campus - which has around 3000 Indian and international students studying over 40 different courses.
The student-staffers friction saw the local Wardha Police entering the campus with counter-complaints lodged, and now the varsity authorities are reportedly planning to clamp down by ‘rusticating’ some purported mischief-mongers.
On the sudden 'six-week break' from studies, and order to vacate the hostels given to the law students from Sunday (December 3), Dr Metri patiently said it was owing to certain staff shortages, "but interviews are going on and the process of new appointments will be completed very soon".
"After the staff are appointed, the regular courses will start, the students will not suffer in any manner for the lapses in the semester and they will not lose their academic year," assured Metri.
Following Metri's assurance, the students backtracked on the agitation and are now ready to accept the 45-days long "break" but said "they should not be evicted from their hostels" as ordered, plus the concerned student’s mobile should be returned safely without damage to the instrument or the data.
They also demanded that the mess authorities should give the food coupons to some students who are sitting hungry since today morning, and the MGAHV should refrain from any punitive action like suspensions/rustications, etc. to restore the normal academic atmosphere on the tense campus.
(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org)