The council further said that the university was actively clamping down on any dissent expressed by the students.

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news Protest Friday, February 21, 2020 - 17:24

The Students Council of Pondicherry University, on Thursday, condemned the university administration’s attempts to counsel the students who had participated in a rally against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) on December 12.

The circular, dated February 11, 2020 and signed by the Deputy Dean for Students Welfare, instructed the faculty members to conduct counselling sessions for the students by February 21. It also directed the faculty members to submit a report to the Academic Coordinator after the completion of the counselling session.

A statement issued by the Pondicherry University Students Council termed the counseling attempt by the university administration as an ‘attempt to suppress the dissenting voices of the students’. Adding that the university is also using other means to get to the students and threaten them, the statement said, “Any of such actions from the administration is unacceptable since we live in a democratic society where freedom of expression and dissent are considered fundamental.”

Speaking to TNM, Parichay Yadav, the President of the Students Council said the university was intimidating students who dared to express their dissent. He also recollected that on December 12, students had burned Amit Shah’s effigy as a part of their protest against the CAA.

“The Dean’s circular was put up on the website yesterday evening. We opposed it very strongly and condemned it. In the evening, we called for a protest to burn the circular in the administrative building itself,” he said. Adding that the university has indeed arranged for a one-to-one counselling session for students on Friday, Parichay said that students have been boycotting the session, thus expressing solidarity with the council.

Parichay alleged that there was also an effort to actively build a false narrative against these protests. “The administration has also been making false accusations against the protesting students saying that condoms were found in the protest site and all.”

When asked about the reason cited by the university to mandate a counselling session for the students, Parichay said that though there is a rule that permission must be obtained, nobody does it in practice within the campus. “The last two years or so, there has been a tight rule here to take permission before organising protests. But students have been holding protests and gatherings inside the campus in a peaceful manner without permission. That is how things are usually here. Since Amit Shah's effigy was burned, I think they would have alleged that." 

Multiple attempts by TNM to reach to the Vice Chancellor of Pondicherry University did not succeed.