CHENNAI: “I chose the University of Madras ignoring other top varsities in South Asia primarily to learn the Tamil culture and discover the roots, but unfortunately the university which ideally should represent the past of the noble city (Chennai) does not reflect it,” said Jonas Anton Pulendrasa, a French national who was thrashed by university professors and staff.
Narrating the sequence of incidents in the conference hall where the State Election Commission secretary, Jothi Nirmala Samy was speaking about the recent floods, Jonas said, “The moment I asked the IAS official a question, the university staff forced me to sit down by holding my arms and when I tried to question again, I was pushed out of the conference hall.”
Before he could react to this, Jonas Anton said three men began hitting him on his nape (back of the head) and other staff started abusing him for resisting the physical attack.
He told Express that the staff had taken his questions as a personal affront, which was unwarranted. “If I can be beaten up for asking a question, the condition of others here are worse as some were not allowed to take exams, attend classes and even enter the university during earlier issues,” Jonas said.
After his friends helped him overcome the trauma, he met the vice-chancellor, R Thandavan where his personal assistant reportedly ridiculed his dress code in the waiting room.
Jonas Anton complained that the vice-chancellor was ready to personally apologise in his chambers, but was not ready to give it in writing and refused to answer when questioned about the safety of international students studying here. The police official in the room was not keen on taking the complaint.
“Until this incident, I found Tamil Nadu a good place with wonderful people, but it is a shame for the university as students who wished to talk were not allowed to,” Jonas Anton told Express.
He has filed a complaint with the local police which he is planning to forward it to the French Embassy which he feels will safeguard French nationals here.