THRISSUR: An engineering college belonging to Muslim Educational Society (MES), Qatar, suspended six students for allegedly wearing ‘Save Gaza’ badges on campus.
However, authorities of Ideal Educational Society Engineering College at Chittilappilly claimed that action had been initiated against the six students for allegedly forcing first semester students to wear ‘Save Gaza’ badges.
But, according to the suspended students, who are SFI activists, the ‘Save Gaza Campaign’ conducted by their organisation on Monday, the day the first semester classes began at the college, was entirely peaceful and the college management can check the CCTV footages to verify it. ‘Express’ has learnt that ‘Save Gaza’ campaign started on Monday morning with SFI activists distributing nearly 400 badges with the slogans ‘Save Gaza’, ‘Pray for Gaza’ and ‘Save Palestine’ among more than 1,000 students in the college. SFI activists said that in the college where 70 pc of the students belong to Muslim community, the campaign created a strong buzz.
“We did not distribute the badges to first semester students, but they might have collected them from others out of interest. When the classes began, the concerned HoDs came to each and every classroom and directed the students to remove the badges and told them that such badges are not allowed on campus,” said head of SFI unit at IES Engineering College Nikhil Thomas.
“Several students approached us for those badges. In my class (fifth semester mechanical), none of the students obeyed the HoD’s order to remove the badge. HoDs then warned the students of sever repercussion,” he said. So, by noon, on Monday, several students approached us and at the corridor of the main block of the college a group of students came together for a few minutes. The SFI functionaries asked them to remove the badge considering the warning issued by HoDs, Nikhil added.
“Later on Wednesday, after the classes, my HoD handed me over a suspension order, which said that along with me, another five students of the college, Anees Akbar, Rasal P M, Sushil P S, Shanif K and Siva Sekhar (not an active supporter of SFI) have been suspended with effect from August 6 for causing inconvenience to first semester students and their parents on Monday. We have come to know that the management is trying to twist the issue claiming we had indulged in activities surmounting to ragging,” he said.
Meanwhile, General Secretary of the Board of Directors of the college K M Aboobacker told ‘Express’ that SFI was trying to carry out political activities in the college under the guise of Gaza War. “We have come to know that those who distributed the badges have intimidated some of the first semester students into wearing them. Hence, such an action has been taken against them. We do not allow any political activities inside our campus,” he said.
Thrissur: Kunnamkulam MLA Babu M Palissery of CPM said that at a time when the people in the state, cutting across political lines, are protesting the carnage in Gaza, the college management’s decision shows its irresponsibility. He said that the new management of the college has been taking some adamant decision off late. “Considering the sentiments with regard to the attack on Gaza, they could have, at the most, warned the students over the campaign instead of suspending them,” he added.