PUDUCHERRY: Students of Pondicherry University laid siege at the main gates on Monday protesting against the shortage of hostel accommodation and the withdrawal of facilities in the campus.
Members of the Pondicherry University Students Movement (PUSM) congregated at the gates as early as 7.30 am in the morning and sat at the gates blocking the entry to campus, shouting slogans. The staff, faculty members, university buses and vehicles of the staff were not allowed to enter the campus by the students.
The faculty and staff members had to wait for hours outside as the students refused to relent, despite the efforts of the police officials and the Pondicherry University Registrar in-charge S Pannirselvame.
Verbal exchanges and scuffle followed between students and staff members who attempted to make their way into the University. The students also entered into arguments with police personnel after they forcibly tried to remove them. One girl’s T-shirt was torn in the melee. Police personnel, led by Senior Superintendent of Police (Law and Order) Dr Chandran, were present. Kalapet MLA P M L Kalayanasundaram talked to the agitators to try and find an amicable solution, but his efforts were in vain.
Registrar in-charge S Pannirselvame arrived around 1.15 pm and tried to pacify the students by assuring them that their demands regarding the hostel and other facilities will be addressed. Regarding the issue of Vice-chancellor, he said that the matter was sub-judice. The protesting students said that there was acute shortage of accommodation and now as many as 10 students were accommodated in one room. They charged that the freshers from far off places were not provided rooms. They also charged that the wardens were threatening them when approached regarding the shortage.
The agitating students also said facilities like battery cars, cycles were withdrawn and even the WiFi facility is now limited, which hampers studies. They also charged that the existing hostels do not have proper drinking water facilities and there are no water purifiers.
The agitators also wanted the students’ council elections to be conducted. The students said they will continue their protest indefinitely till their demands are met.