Srinagar, Sept 15: A storm of controversy has engulfed Desh Bhagat University (DBU) in Punjab, as students, the majority of them from Kashmir, who enrolled in the university for the 2020 academic session to pursue nursing courses, found themselves left high and dry.
The students have accused the university of surreptitiously shifting their registrations to an unapproved college within the DBU campus, leading to widespread protests and a shocking Police lathi charge that left numerous female students injured and some unconscious.
The videos of the Police cane charge went viral on social media.
The issue came to light when a batch of students, who had registered in DBU, discovered that their admissions had been clandestinely transferred to Sardar Lal Singh College, a college located within the DBU campus.
"The students were under the impression that they were registered with DBU. But we were shocked to know that our registration has been shifted to an unapproved college," one of the students said.
As per the policy governing the nursing course admissions, universities must strictly adhere to the rules and regulations set by the Indian Nursing Council (INC).
An official said that the INC had granted approval for a specific number of student admissions.
"Yet, 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)," an official said.
This issue is not new as students had last year too staged protests.
"At that time, the university authorities had assured to address the matter, but their promises remained unfulfilled which has left the students in a state of limbo," another student said.
The affected students have been vocal about their predicament, asserting that neither the INC nor the PNRC recognises their course.
Recent days have witnessed an escalation of their protests, fueled by the university's continued silence on the issue.
Tragically, this surge in dissent resulted in a harsh Police cane charge, which left numerous students injured and some unconscious.
However, following the law and order situation, the Punjab Government has taken cognisance of the situation and a team comprising officials from the administration, Police, and the university has been formed to investigate and resolve the issue.
Meanwhile, the local Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) has convened several meetings with the protesting students and assured them of action.
The fate of these students remains uncertain as they await a resolution to this distressing situation.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Students Association (JKSA) has written to Union Minister for Health and Medical Education Mansukh Mandaviya and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann over transfer of Kashmiri students enrolled in various paramedical courses from DBU Punjab to Sardar Lal Singh College without their consent.
"DBU has transferred approximately 70 Kashmiri students enrolled in various paramedical courses to Sardar Lal Singh College without their consent or will. This unilateral move by the university has been ongoing since last year when around 500 students from Jammu and Kashmir, pursuing various paramedical courses at DBU found themselves caught in a situation beyond their control," National Convenor JKSA, Nasir Khuehami said in a statement.
"It has come to light that DBU, Punjab, admitted 140 students, far exceeding the approved intake capacity, which ranges from 40 to 60 students," he said.
Khuehami urged the Union Minister for Health and Medical Education Mansukh Mandaviya and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann to ensure the preservation of these students' registrations, allowing them to continue their nursing education without further hindrance.
He urged the CM to prioritise the resolution of this matter in the best interest of these young, aspiring nurses.
"We demand justice for these students who have been unjustly caught in this predicament," he said.
Former J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti condemned the cane charge on female students protesting against the DBU's decision to transfer Kashmiri students without their consent.
"Lathi charging Kashmiri students and misbehaving with girls for protesting against a university that’s wrecked their future is completely uncalled for. Request @BhagwantMann ji to kindly look into this matter. Such actions alienate Kashmiris even further," Mehbooba Mufti wrote on X.