news Friday, February 06, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute | February 6, 2015 | 11.15 AM IST The sit-in protest by students of Dr. Ambedkar Government Law College, Chennai against shifting of the college has entered its second day. The college authorities have declared that the college and hostel would remain closed for a week.  On Wednesday the students had blocked the roads in Chennai city’s major areas like Parrys and Central for almost three hours. Later the students were lathicharged and arrested by the police. Few of them were hospitalized.  The students shifted the venue of protest to the college campus on Thursday morning. Over 100 students assembled inside the college and sat on a dharna demanding an assurance from the government that the college would not be shifted to Thiruvallur or any other place in the outskirts of Chennai city. They also demanded an apology from the police for Wednesday’s lathicharge. (Student admitted in hospital after lathicharge) Since morning representatives from political parties and bar associations reached the protest venue and declared their support. Chairman of Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry T. Selvam wanted the students to give them a letter seeking help and asking him to represent them in the court so that he could take up the issue. Few advocates of the High Court too came to the spot and expressed their support. By evening the director of Directorate of Legal Studies (DLS) N.K. Santosh spoke to the students for almost an hour. He said that the decision by the college authorities was following an order from the High Court and that it was following a writ filed by “few advocates” asking why the Shanmugam Committee recommendations of 2008 were not implemented yet. The Shanmugam Committee report, among other things, recommended establishment of new law colleges near Chennai city, shifting of undergraduate five and three year law courses of Chennai’s law college to the new ones and having only masters and doctoral law courses in the college in the High Court campus. Though the report had come in 2008, till 2014 the government had not acted upon it. The DLS director told the students that Rs. 120 crore was required for the new colleges and that even land was not yet acquired for this. He told the students that it was “too early to protest.” He requested the students to withdraw the strike and take legal recourse. He assured them that all hep that is required would be provided by him and his office. He also told the students to check the facts of the case. “We all have studied from this college. All of us are pained to shift but this a court order. As law students and lawyers we must abide by the orders of the court. But you must ask those who filed the writ petition now in the High Court asking why the Shanmugam Committee recommendations have not yet been implemented,” he said. The students were, however, in no mood to listen to him. He was shouted down and twice was made to stop his speech and leave from the site. President of the High Court bar association Paul Kanakaraj said that the students' protest were not without reason and that he and his association would support it fully. He said that he would act as a bridge between the government and the students. On Thursday afternoon when the students brought before the bench comprising of Justice Satish K. Agnohotri and Justice M. Venugopal a petition for urgent hearing to refrain the government from shifting the college, the judges asked the students to first attend classes, seek response from the government and only if the response was unsatisfactory approach them. A teacher of the law college, who did not want her to be named, said that there were vested interests behind this. “It is obvious that there are vested interests. The railways said that the building is strong and would stand the metro work. This is the only law college in Chennai and if this goes, the field is open for private institutions. The students of this college would be the losers. The bar council has stake in this. They are the ones who need to approve a law college and they will demand money from private institutions.” By Thursday evening the protest venue remained dispersed. With the High Court refusing to entertain their petition and many students leaving the protest site, the students had less idea as to how the struggle should be taken forward. Few of them spent the night at the protest site itself. Tweet Follow @thenewsminute

Show us some love! Support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.