Bareilly College to set up ‘dharna sthal’ for agitating students

BAREILLY: In a strange decision, authorities at Bareilly College have decided to set up a ‘dharna sthal’ in a park near the principal’s office where the students can stage their demonstrations. The site will even come equipped with various facilities, including tin-roofed shelter, fans, benches and toilets.

College authorities claimed that this decision was taken as students protest inside the principal’s room for hours, disrupting administrative work. However, a section of teachers have criticized this decision, saying it will be a nuisance and will invite students to sit in protest for the whole day over petty issues. Even student leaders have opposed the move.

The decision of setting up a Dharna Sthal was taken during a meeting of the management committee with the principal and teachers of the college on November 19. On Monday, the principal sent a circular to heads of all departments about the decision taken during this meeting. The term ‘dharna sthal’ is not mentioned in the circular but it is written that a park should be constructed in the campus with various permanent facilities, including tin shed, benches and toilets.

Secretary of management committee, Dev Murti, said, “Space will be given to students near the principal’s office to protest so that they do not disturb the evening classes or affect the functioning of principal’s office.”

Principal RB Singh said, “Similar to Jantar Mantar, a spot in the campus will be constructed where students can come together and discuss their problems. As students stage demonstration in our office for hours, it disturb the work.” Singh added that the site will be ready by next year.

However, some teachers criticized the decision. A senior faculty member, on condition of anonymity, said, “This is a ridiculous idea as setting up a site like this will invite more students to stage protests on a daily basis over petty issues. Besides, there is no guarantee that student leaders will stick to the dharna spot. There is no point in spending public money for providing fans and toilets to agitators.”

Another teacher who wished not to be named said, “It will create more nuisance and a law and order problem. There are chances that students will go on the rampage at the site by breaking fans, benches and other facilities.”

Even students leaders belonging to various organizations are not satisfied with this decision. “When we protest in the room of college authorities, they address our demand soon as they face problems with our protest. However, if we will agitate at a dharna sthal, there is no confirmation whether officials will come there to listen our grievances or not,” said Avneesh Choubey, district coordinator, Ambedkar Chatra Sabha said.

State joint organizing secretary, ABVP, Mahesh Rathore said the move will only create hurdles for students to approach authorities in case of any problems.