Several students from the Dr BR Ambedkar Government Law College in Puducherry blocked the institution's gates on Wednesday, preventing Lieutenant (Lt)Governor Kiran Bedi's exit from the premises. Students allege that their behaviour was in response to her refusal to listen to the problems they were facing at the institute despite repeated attempts to convey the issue to her.
The Lt Governor, according to a release from her Secretariat in Puducherry, had visited the college following multiple complaints of poor administration. She arrived at the campus close to 11.30 am on Wednesday, conducted a half hour inspection and proceeded to leave. While a representative from the Secretariat claims that she left after informing the students to come with a representation in English to her open house at 5pm, students allege she paid no heed to their requests.
A second-year student of law, under the condition of anonymity told TNM that, "We were initially informed by the college last week that we were going to have an interactive session with Kiran Bedi. Students were even made to clean the campus ahead of our arrival. We did it because we thought this will be an opportunity for us to tell her the problem we are facing."
Students claim that there is no adequate drinking water on the campus and that toilets are poorly maintained and non-functional. In addition to this they allege that there is a huge crunch in staff.
"We went with a representation to her but she didn't even acknowledge our presence. Over 200 of us then crowded her car but the police forced us to move. That is when some students locked the gates." says the student, who noted that the blockade lasted all of minutes. "Even after all this, there was no response. We were just made to move by the police," she adds.
The Lt Governor's office, however, maintains that the students' anger was aimed at the institution and not Kiran Bedi.
According to Kumaran, the Lt Governor's public relations officer, student representatives even arrived at the open house and submitted a representation. The following is Kiran Bedi's statement on the matter - "Student delegation has met me and given me their written rep. I am directing the Sec Edu to Appoint an Administrator to address all the matter listed out in the petition and send me a monthly report of action taken. Students grievance remained unaddressed. The Principal did not allow them to come and report."
Students, however, maintain that any response to their problems was only invoked by the dharna they staged today.