Srinagar: As tensions continue to escalate at Desh Bhagat University (DBU) in Punjab, authorities have issued a directive for hostel boarders, predominantly students from Kashmir, to vacate the premises amid mounting uncertainty surrounding the shifting of admissions to another college within the university's campus.
This unfolding situation stems from a controversy that has gripped DBU, with nursing students who enrolled for the 2020 academic session finding themselves in a state of despair.
As already reported by this newspaper, the students complain that their registrations were covertly transferred to an unapproved college within the DBU campus, resulting in widespread protests and a shocking police lathi charge that left several female students injured and unconscious. Disturbing videos of the police lathi charge quickly went viral on social media platforms.
Amid the chaos, DBU has suspended all class work for nursing and physiotherapy students and has instructed the affected students, including females, to vacate their hostels and return to their homes.
An aggrieved student said they were told by the hostel authorities to vacate the hostel and go back to their homes in Kashmir. "The classes are already suspended amid the chaos in campus," she told Greater Kashmir.
Another female student expressed her frustration and said the entire teaching staff has left the university, and they (hostel boarders) have been informed that those associated with the hostel mess will also be departing. "We have been left to fend for ourselves," she said.
The warden of the girls' hostel, Surjit Kour, confirmed that the students were being asked to vacate the hostel due to the suspension of class work.
"These are not my personal orders but have come from higher-ups in the University. But I am not leaving the hostel and will stay here as long as my students, the hostel boarders, remain here," she said.
Despite the warden's commitment, the hostel boarders, primarily female students from Kashmir, on Saturday evening informed Greater Kashmir that they left for their respective homes.
"We were asked to stay in the hostel at our own risk. Given the circumstances, it was too risky to remain in the hostel, so we chose to return home," the female student said.
The issue initially surfaced when a group of students who had registered at DBU to pursue their nursing course discovered that their admissions had been surreptitiously transferred to Sardar Lal Singh College, a college situated within the DBU campus.
"The students were under the impression that they were registered with DBU. But we were shocked to learn that our registration had been shifted to an unapproved college," one of the students said.
Admissions to nursing courses are governed by policies that require universities to strictly adhere to the rules and regulations set by the Indian Nursing Council (INC). According to an official, the INC had granted approval for a specific number of student admissions.
"The university authorities allegedly exceeded this limit and unilaterally shifted these students' registrations to Lal Singh College, which lacks approval from both the INC and the Punjab Nursing Registration Council (PNRC)."
As chaos and uncertainty grip the university, the government has intervened and convened a meeting with DBU officials to investigate the matter.
Prabhjot Singh, one of the functionaries of the University while responding to the questions about the admission transfer to the unrecognised college, said that the college in question possesses a No Objection Certificate (NoC) from the Department of Medical Education and Research in Punjab. "The college has affiliation from the Punjab Nurses Registration Council, Mohali. We are unable to understand why students have made a hue and cry," he told Greater Kashmir from Punjab.
Regarding the closure of class work, Singh said the staff members were held hostage by some students, who barricaded the university doors and threatened staff members residing on campus along with their families. "As a precaution, we declared the university closed. We are in communication with the government to address this matter," he said.