Protests against Centre’s move to strip 44 educational institutions countrywide of their deemed university status turned violent on Wednesday in Tamil Nadu with students of two colleges pelting stones, damaging property and blocking traffic at various places of the state.

More than 3000 students of Vinayaka Mission university, which is set to lose their deemed university status, blocked vehicular traffic and stoned buses, causing head injuries to a head constable, in Salem, police said.

Students of Ponniah Ramajeyam University at Thanjavur, which will also be affected by the Centre’s decision, too blocked roads, pelted stones and damaged college property, they said.

Worried over the Centre’s derecognition move, private varsities in Tamil Nadu appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and HRD ministry to find a solution and offered to hold talks with the government.

M K Padmanabhan, Vice-Chancellor, Dr MGR University, told reporters after a meeting of representatives of varsities that they should be given enough time to rectify the shortcomings.

“We (the managements) are willing to talk to them (officials) and take appropriate decisions,” he said, adding the interests of students and staff should be taken into account.

A member present in the meeting said the Prof P. N. Tandon Committee report, which the Centre has cited in the Supreme Court to derecognise the varsities, was based on 10 minute presentations by management representatives, whereas the UGC panel had spent three days to inspect the institutions before recommending deemed university status.