Student protests at the Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law (RGNUL), Patiala have finally come to an end after the administration formally undertook to accept all four demands put forth by the students in a meeting mediated by Advocate General for Punjab, Atul Nanda.
The protests had erupted last Friday over the “arbitrary and wrongful” suspension of six hostel inmates as well as long-standing systemic issues. Over the course of the agitation, four major areas of concern were highlighted by the student protestors:
Initial rounds of conciliatory talks between the administration and the students failed after the authorities refused to issue any formal order accepting the student demands unless the protest was first called off.
However, a written agreement acceding to all the four demands was finally drawn out in today’s mediatory meeting. The agreement was made in the presence of AG Nanda, Vice Chancellor Dr Paramjit Jaswal and student representatives from each batch. The agreement intimates that the following terms have been mutually agreed upon by all sides.
As per a source, the students were also told that the complaints filed with the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) and the National Commission for Women (NCW) regarding the protests would have to be withdrawn as part of the deal. However, a written undertaking said to have been made to this effect is yet to be publicised.
The agreement comes five days into unrelenting student protests against maladministration at RGNUL. The protests were triggered by a suspension order issued by Administrative Officer SP Singh on March 15 against six inmates of the boys’ hostel. The order followed a protest over the quality of mess food in the boys’ hostel on March 13.
Students collectively objected to this suspension order as being arbitrary and invalid, more so since it was issued without a proper hearing and in the absence of Vice-Chancellor Dr Jaswal. When the University administration refused to revoke the suspension orders, student grievances concerning broader issues of maladministration also began to form a part of the agitation.
As the impasse continued, students chose to remain outdoors in peaceful protest, even sleeping outside for three days. Mid-semester exams which began on Monday also saw a low turnout, after it was collectively decided that all students, save for the final year students, would boycott the exam. Following today’s agreement, the University has also issued a revised schedule for these mid-semester examinations.
The popular protest also drew in support from various student bodies across law schools and universities, including the NLU consortium and RGNUL alumni.
Read the Mutual Agreement resolving the RGNUL student protests below:
Image courtesy: Twitter