Chandigarh,25 Apr:Today the response to the chain fast being observed by the teachers, students and employees was more emphatic and decisive than ever before. Teachers of the Punjabi Department, along with a strong contingent of 10 research scholars of the department joined the chain fast to symbolically counter the propaganda that elevating P.U. to central university would compromise the Punjabiat in the region. The overwhelming participation of the department goes on to prove that it is Punjabi, Punjab and Punjabiat that require P.U. to be strengthened as central university more than ever before. Among the faculty who sat on the fast were Prof. Nahar Singh, Dr. S.K Deweshwar, and Dr. Yograj all from the department of Punjabi and Dr Pankaj Malviya from the department of Russian. Sh Somnath from Chemistry and Sh A.K. Tyagi from Bio-chemistry joined the fast from the technical staff.
Prof Nahar Singh, well known for his work in Punjabi folklore, reiterated that Central government should play an active role in declaring Punjab University as institute of National Importance, as per the provision in the seventh schedule of the Constitution, without any further delay. He quipped, “if Aligarh Muslim University, and Banaras Hindu University were accorded such a status to cater to the aspirations of two major communities, why was Panjab University not made institute of national importance so as to effectively cater to the needs of local Punjabis?” The research scholars also felt that Punjabi research would receive a shot in the arm once Centre agrees to fully finance the University budget.
In its meeting Joint Action Committee (JAC), decided to continue the chain fast, and also to expedite the process of dialogue with political leaders of Punjab and Central Government. Reacting to the reports appeared in different newspapers that Punjab Government cannot spare seven hundred acres of land required for the newly proposed world-class central university, PUTA President Prof. A.S. Ahluwalia suggested that Panjab University, with its sprawling campus and illustrious history, provides the most befitting alternative. Meanwhile it has been decided in the meeting of JAC that the agitation would be carried to the regional centers of Panjab University in Ludhiana, Hoshiarpur and Muktsar. Already students and faculty of these centers have expressed their desire to launch agitation for the up-gradation of P.U. to central university at their respective centres.
Tomorrow, on Saturday a team of Deans would join the chain fast in a show of solidarity. It would be a matter of shame for political leadership, local, state and national, that due to its political tussle academics of such excellence and stature have been forced to come to the streets.