For a background reading, read the Lawctopus’ post here. Detailed reports by Bar and Bench can be found here and here.
Parents of the students of RGNUL are backing their children, and the below letter is doing the rounds in a Whatsapp group created by the parents.
Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab
17th March 2019
Subject: Agitation by students
This is in reference to the mail received on 16th March 2019. As much as the university, we too are deeply concerned and saddened by the state of affairs in the university we entrusted our children to study in. In furtherance of the same feeling, we talked to our wards personally to get their perspective on this issue.
We are deeply aggrieved, that the university has mis-characterised the protests by students, for their rightful legal demands and how the university is trying to influence our actions to influence and break the students, our children which are also their children as well.
We might not be well versed with the law, but as citizens of this country, we understand the implication of our fundamental rights. We believe that the right to protest is legally sound with the principles enshrined in our Constitution.
The university misled us as to how these protests were for mess food but instead was for the recalling of 6 students who were ILLEGALLY suspended without application of any rules, which was in addition reaffirmed by the Same justices of the high court.
Yet, the fact that the authorities put in the demand to revoke that illegal suspension as a bargaining tool and a conditional exercise we believe that the intention of the university is to only exploit the students. The demands of the students are legitimate, if they weren’t, the authorities would never have conceded.
Talking of food, we are concerned with the health of our children as there have been reports of chewing gum, wires etc in the food. We have been aware of the same since the time the actions were carried out, yet we believed the authorities will take up the issue, but they failed us and their students.
We have also been told that the honourable justices first PROMISED the students to directly talk to the Hon’ble Chancellor of the university, which was in their right, for which the students suspended temporarily their protests. Yet the college, later on, said that this wasn’t a possibility. Our children have been ill-treated and lied to.
The officer in question has harassed our children and there is a deep-rooted fear. We have read the annexures and their demands which warrant this action and we stand by them as their guides because the university failed to do the same.
We hoped the university would temporarily suspend the officer as they could do for students, yet the university has shown its double standards towards how lowly they treat their children as they still threaten to implement the illegal suspension order of the 6 students.
The university is putting our children at ransom and using us as their pawns to enforce our pressure, which we shall not submit to.
We have seen the media reports, and how our children sleep on the roads in this cold and the university does not care for them to even provide food, yet closes down the shops that are even open. The university did not care for their security or their safety when they carried that order and forced students to be on themselves.
We believe the students will end this protest as soon as their rightful demands are met. We further also believe that the safety, security, allegations of sexual harassment and well being of our children is more important than the mid semesters at hand which the university has in the past shifted for reasons best known to them, for which the costs were paid by us and our children.
This is a national issue and one of the rights, which are more so mandated in a law college to voice the values of equality, dignity, fraternity, and justice. We believe that in addition to us our children must also be the most important stakeholders as far as the university is concerned and we stand by them.
Their reasons are right, the way of their demonstration is peaceful. The authorities cannot hold them hostage or their demands conditional, for it’s not just them but I too, stand by my ward in this Satyagraha.