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Students, police come to blows outside GNDU

The ongoing protests by students on the matter of offline exams being conducted by GNDU turned ugly on Thursday with scuffle between the students and police. The segment of students, around 800, protesting under the Student Sangharsh Morcha had gathered outside varsity gates till evening to demonstrate against recent announcement of date sheets by the university. During the protest, students and police came to blows and police also lathicharged to disperse the protestors.

Navdeep Singh, a student of MA Political Science from Jalandhar, who has been leading the protests, said, “Lot of students got hurt while the police tried to disperse us forcefully. We have been protesting against the decision to hold offline exams since January. Our demands have not been addressed and have given the university two days’ time to consider our demands, failing which we will carry out protests across Jalandhar, Batala and Amritsar.” He added they will also gherao the offices and residences of principals of respective affiliate colleges in their cities. Most of the students belong to affiliated colleges or constituent colleges from Jalandhar, Batala, Amritsar and Gurdaspur.

“The university carried out online classes throughout the pandemic, never really addressing problems like connectivity issues for students hailing from rural belt. Due to these issues the syllabus remained incomplete, while the university says that offline exams will comprise of complete syllabus. Many of us are also preparing for competitive exams. If other universities in country can take online exams considering the student grievances, why is GNDU risking the implications for students?” said another protestor Sanjay Luthra.

While the students claimed that dean Academic Affairs has assured them of a solution, the university authorities maintained that the offline exams will not be rescheduled. “We will carry out offline exams from February 15 and any resolution brought by students in regard to their issues is welcomed,” said KS Kahlon, registrar, GNDU.

University has also announced date sheet for practical exams, for all subjects of semester first, third, fifth and seventh of all courses that will be held before theory examination.

Box: Timeline for the row

December 3 – GNDU announces conduct of offline exams for exit classes as per guidelines issued by the state government and UGC regarding post-Covid reopening of colleges and universities.

December 7 – GNDU decides to postpone offline exams and extend the window period till January 27, 2021, after protests by students and keeping in mind the farmers’ agitation.

December 18 – GNDU begins conduct of offline exams for exit classes.

January 3 – Students from outstation and affiliated colleges protest against offline exams announced by university for all courses.

January 13 – GNDU decides to postpone offline exams till January 18 for affiliated colleges.

February 1 – GNDU announces theory exams for first, third, fifth, seventh and ninth semesters from February 15. Decision to be implemented in affiliated colleges as well.

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