NIT-Calicut fines five students Rs 33 lakh over night curfew protest on campus

A show-cause notice was issued on Thursday to the students to claim the loss suffered by the institute due to students’ protests.
NIT Calicut.
NIT Calicut. (Photo| NIT Calicut website)

KOZHIKODE: In a controversial decision, authorities of National Institute of Technology-Calicut (NIT-Calicut) have slapped a huge fine of Rs 33 lakh on five students who led a protest against imposition of night curfew on the campus in March.

A show-cause notice was issued on Thursday to the students in order to claim the loss suffered by the institute due to students’ protests.

The penalty, amounting to Rs 6,61,155 per student, was imposed on Vaishakh Premkumar and Ben Thomas of the Department of electronics, Kailash Nath of the department of Computer Science and engineering, Irshad Ibrahim of the department of Mechanical Engineering, and Adarsh of the department of material science and engineering.

The protest which took place on March 22 resulted in significant disruptions on the campus. The protesters prevented employees from entering the campus, and a working day was lost, according to NIT-C officials.

NIT-C admin gives students 7-day window to respond to penalty notice

The NIT-C administration has given the students a seven-day window to respond to the penalty notice, emphasising that the fines were intended to compensate for the perceived losses incurred due to the protest. “We will seek legal advice before responding to the show-cause notice issued by the registrar,” Kailash Nath told TNIE.

“I first received the notice on Thursday morning and we were indeed surprised to see it, as none of the claims raised by the institute in the notice are true. The main gate was closed as part of the protest, but regular activities of the college were unaffected. We were only trying to talk to the director of the campus as representatives of the Students Affairs Council (SAC) as the students were facing many issues due to unwanted restrictions on the campus. The institute authorities are still not trying to understand the difficulties faced by students. Instead, they are busy making the lives of students tough,” he said.

The institute authorities said in the notice that they have considered the CCTV footage, photographs, media telecasts and report from the security staff and identified the students who led the protest, locked the main entrance and restrained the employees of the institute from entering into the campus.

The protest was sparked by a circular issued on March 20 by Dean Rajanikant G K which introduced new curfew regulations on the campus. According to the circular, students were required to return to their hostels by midnight, and the campus canteen was to be closed at 11pm instead of the 24-hour service provided earlier. The administration cited safety concerns and the negative impact of late-night activities on students’ health and academic performance as reasons for introducing the new rules.

These curbs, which had been lifted in 2020, were reinstated following complaints about students roaming the campus late at night.

The administration stressed that the unrestricted late-night access and the 24-hour canteen operations posed challenges to maintaining order on campus. The imposition of night curfew triggered unrest among the student.

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