Following the Centre’s move to derecognise some deemed universities, student violence broke out on campuses of some affected institutions in and around Chennai.
On Tuesday morning, more than 500 students of Saveetha School of Engineering (SSE), affiliated to Saveetha University, went on the rampage on their campus at Chettipedu near Sriperumbudur.
“Around 9.00 a.m., we approached our principal P. Suresh Mohan Kumar as our college was named in the media reports. He refused to answer our queries,” said Sonu, a first year ECE student.
Students damaged furniture, windows and stationery in the college and hostel and set them ablaze. The principal’s office was also damaged. More than 100 students from other districts and States including girls staying in the SSE hostel on the campus were forcibly evacuated by the management staff with the help of the police.
“I have been asked to vacate the hostel immediately. I don’t know whether I will receive my certificates and my education here will be recognised,” said a worried fourth year ECE student.
Students claimed that Saveetha School of Engineering, affiliated to Saveetha University, has poor facilities and only meagre faculty strength, unlike Saveetha Engineering College run by the same management but affiliated to Anna University.
[Saveetha University was given approval in 2005 and the School of Engineering admitted its first students in 2006-2007.]
Students in Meenakshi University at Sikkarayapuram, between Kundrathur and Mangadu, assembled on the college premises and started damaging lights, ceiling fans, windows, glass doors and some equipment in the laboratory. A section of students chased a faculty member who had to scamper to safety.
Chennai suburban police teams entered the campus. The trouble lasted from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Students dispersed after the management announced a week’s holiday.
The institute was given university status in 2004 and was in the news last year when students protested against the management.
Students said then that they were forced to share facilities with Sri Muthukumaran Institute of Technology, which is situated nearby.
[The Chancellor of Meenakshi University is also the managing trustee of the Sri Muthukumaran Education Trust which runs the institute of technology, according to the websites of the two institutes.]
Students at Dr. MGR Educational and Research Institute in Maduravoyal damaged furniture and nameboards on the campus after the management allegedly failed to address students’ grievances on the same matter.
Speaking to the media, M. K. Padmanabhan, Vice-Chancellor, said there was no official communication to the university. “We came to know the matter only through media reports. The news came as a surprise to us,” said Mr. Padmanabhan. The management has declared the college closed till January 28.
Police were on their toes in Selaiyur and Pallavaram, where Bharath Institute of Higher Education and Research and Vel’s Institute of Science, Technology and Advanced Studies are located.
Students were visibly upset and gathered in groups near shops outside their campus. However, the police said no untoward incident was reported from these two institutions. Higher Education officials in the State said that the matter was pending before the Supreme Court and that they would take appropriate action to safeguard the interests of students when it came under their purview.
K. Ponmudy, Higher Education Minister, said the government would look into any incident that had resulted in students being affected.
(With inputs from Petlee Peter and K. Manikandan)