Students, faculty, await visit of three-member committee to find solution

A day after American College here witnessed violence on the campus, a section of college faculty and students on Tuesday accused the police of “partiality” on the issue.

After Monday's violence, in which several vehicles and college property were damaged by a group, the campus continued to be tense on Tuesday even as police personnel were deployed in large numbers. Staff and students continued with their protest.

Two groups of faculty members were at loggerheads for the past couple of years over the college management issue.

Speaking on behalf of the protesting teachers, who are opposed to CSI Bishop Christopher Asir's “interference” in the college affairs, former Principal T. Chinnaraj Joseph Jaikumar blamed the police of “inaction and not providing adequate security in American College despite knowing that there was threat-to-life situation on the college campus.”

“We blame the local police (Tallakulam police station) and have no faith in them. On several occasions, we lodged complaints that about 30 to 40 outsiders were planted inside the campus by the group supporting the Bishop. No action was taken and there is threat to safety of students and staff,” Dr. Jaikumar said.

According to him, the police was aware of the potential threats and yet they did not take action.

“Why were the police personnel withdrawn from the campus just before violence broke out on Monday afternoon? Our position is that it was done deliberately. Even on earlier occasions when there was tension in our college, the police did not arrive on time and we suspect that police are hand-in-glove with the group opposed to us,” the former Principal accused.

According to him, there was a pattern whenever there was violence. “The police would call us for peace talks and we go there in good faith. In the meantime, rowdies enter our college and violence happens.”

He also wondered why there was a delay in the visit of the three-member committee formed by State government to find a solution for the American College issue with Chief Secretary, Home Secretary and Higher Education Secretary as members. “There is a law and order problem right now. The government's attitude is not safe for staff and students of this college and the committee must take up the matter since a month has passed after the G.O. was issued,” Dr. Jaikumar said.

Meanwhile, acting Principal, R. Mohan, denied that there was any instigation of students to indulge in violence. He informed that the semester examinations would commence on April 25 and go on till May 10.

“We are also waiting for the high-power committee to begin its efforts for a solution,” he said.

While the group supporting the Bishop said that Collector C. Kamaraj would convene peace talks on Wednesday, the Collector, when contacted flatly denied that there was any such move from him. “I have not called for any meeting on American College problem. The police have been asked to take appropriate steps,” Mr. Kamaraj said.