Dental college declares students’ protest illegal, threatens action


Srinagar, Mar 13: Calling the ongoing strike by the students at the institution “illegal”, the Government Dental College and Hospital threatened the protesting students to resume academic work and patient care or face action.
On an indefinite strike since Friday over the alleged misconduct by Head of the Department (HOD) Orthodontics department, the students at the college are demanding his immediate removal from the post.
The protesting students are also demanding formation of a students’ union at the college.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Administrative Officer of the college, Fahmida Jan has said, “The law of the land does not in any way permit strike or suspension of work.”
The ongoing strike, as per Jan, is “completely bad in the eyes of law”, which “makes the participants of the strike liable for legal consequences”.
Jan has even warned that the participants of the strike would be “held responsible in case of any untoward incident or consequences”.
“If anyone is found to have not attended their departments forthwith, appropriate necessary action under rules shall be initiated,” reads the statement.
While the grievances of the students at the college have already been “amicably settled” in a meeting between Secretary Health and Medical Education (H&ME) and the students, the statement has even claimed that the HOD in question “has apologised to his students.”
Asking the faculty members to attend patients in their respective departments, Principal of the college, Prof Riyaz Farooq, in a separate statement said, “…any failure to attend the patients shall be viewed seriously as dereliction of duties and disobedience of instructions issued in this behalf”.
Unmoved by the college diktat, the protesting students, however, told The Kashmir Monitor that they would continue their indefinite strike.
“The law should apply to both the parties. It is surprising that they have termed our protest illegal. If anyone is wronged, there is every right for him to protest,” a protesting student, Mudasir asked.
Emergency services at the dental college, as per Mudassir, have been going on uninterrupted.
“We have not stopped any patient from getting the treatment,” he said.
Over the college claiming that the accused HoD apologised to the students, Mudassir said, “It is like committing a murder and then apologising. If he has misbehaved, he should be taken to task.”
Rameez, another protesting student, said that Sub-divisional Magistrate had allowed them to hold peaceful protests.
“When an SDM has given us a go-ahead, how can the college call our protests illegal?” he asked.
Rameez said, “The accused HoD denied having slapping a student, which he did. So, how does his apology work? He is trying to prove hundreds of students are lying?”
Calling the college statement “immature”, Gurdev Singh Bali alleged, “After harassing us, the college is now trying to harass our parents by calling them and writing letters to them.”
“We fear that our parents would hit the roads now,” he said.
He alleged that the meeting of the students with Commissioner Secretary Health and Medical Education was being cited out of context.
“He had not come for this purpose, but for interviews of lecturers,” he said. “We are demanding an academically sound teacher for ourselves. It is not illegal (as the college management is saying).”