CHENNAI: What began as an unwarranted attack on a foreign student by the University of Madras staff took an ugly turn with the staff roughing up students who sat in protest against the attack on their fellow student.
The students sat in front of the vice-chancellor’s car demanding action against the three who thrashed Jonas Anton Pulendrarasa, a student from France studying international relations here. A staff got on the driver’s seat of the VC’s car and moved the car forward, hoping that they would be scared and make way for the car. When the students didn’t budge, more staff jumped into action against the students. The placards which the students were holding during the stir were snatched and thrown away. The bags of the students were among the other things tossed.
Earlier, Jonas had raised questions during a national seminar on ‘Managing disaster: A case study of Chennai floods’ where a senior IAS officer Jothi Nirmala Samy was the chief guest. Subsequently, when Jonas rose up to pose another question to the bureaucrat, he was attacked and thrown out of the hall, according to Jonas. The university staff claimed he was escorted out for interrupting the panel discussion. Following the event, other students sat in front of the VC’s car demanding action against the staff who attacked Jonas Anton during the seminar.
With placards condemning the staff for their unruly behaviour, the students squatted in front of the VC’s car. Attempts by the varsity registrar David Jawahar to pacify the students were futile.
“We will take action. But I have not received any complaint yet. Please make way for the car,” Jawahar asked the students.
However, Jonas clarified to Express that as soon as he was assaulted by the staff inside the seminar hall, he registered a formal complaint with his department head.
Since the students were firm on their demand, the security guards and the non-teaching staff began roughing up the protesting lot.
“This is the right treatment for these guys,” one of the staff was heard saying. After a lot of pushing from both sides, the VC’s car was taken out leaving the students with torn clothes.
The tiff continued for nearly an hour after which the students called off the protests after addressing the media. Jonas told Express that he would also be notifying the French Embassy about the turn of events after filing an official complaint at the Anna Square police station.
univ staffer puts foot in her mouth
An office assistant with Madras University had a foot in the mouth moment after she told protesting students that they study on their money. The non-teaching staff, identified as Ezhilarasi, kept on saying that the students study on their money when the latter were addressing the media. The enraged students’ turned towards her and asked “Madam, Have you come only to pick up a fight with us? Can you give it in writing that we study in your money?” At this, other staff too intervened. The woman claimed that she was irritated that the gates were locked blocking her exit. However, she failed to realise that the gates were locked at the instance of the university management and not the students.
Prof prevents Journo from taking photos
The University of Madras staff didn’t spare even mediapersons who came to cover the protest. Professor S Manivasakan, director, Center for South and South East Asian Studies snatched the mobile phone of an Express reporter who was taking pictures of a tiff between a Tanzanian student and staff. The professor’s defense was that the media were not allowed to cover the protest. After arguments, Manivasakan conceded. Earlier, Bob, the Tanzanian national was pushed away by the university non-teaching staff when he stood in support of the protesting students. “I went and complained to the registrar. He was not ready to listen and told me that I was the one who instigated the protests,” Bob told Express.