PU fee hike protests branded 'seditious', Rahul Gandhi tears into Centre


India, Politics

The Chandigarh Police booked sedition charges following which the complainant, said his complaint had been "misinterpreted".

Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi. (Photo: File)

New Delhi: As the Chandigarh Police booked 66 students of the Punjab University on sedition charges following protests on campus against a fee hike, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday took to Twitter to express his anger towards the Centre and questioned its norms of declaring a protest 'sedition'.

"Now protesting against fee hike is also sedition? Do the young have no right to speak in this country?" Rahul Gandhi tweeted.

On Tuesday, the agitators clashed with police, forcing them to use force, resulting in injuries to both sides.

The Chandigarh Police booked sedition charges following which the complainant, a security officer at PU, said his complaint had been "misinterpreted". With the police move triggering an outcry, a senior officer said late in the evening that the charges would be dropped if no "substantial evidence" was found.

The agitated students wanted to hold talks with Punjab University Vice Chancellor Arun Kumar Grover on the issue of fee hike as they were observing "PU Bandh" against the recent hike. When the students were not allowed for discussion, they tried to forcibly enter the VC office by jumping the barricades set up by police.

The police started using water cannons to disperse the angry students. The situation became violent when students allegedly started pelting stones on the Police, which forced the police to lathi-charge, leading to injuries to several students.

While the students were demanding rollback of fee hike, the Punjab University had justified the average 12.5 percent hike, considering the financial condition of the university as it had anticipated a deficit of Rs. 244 crore for the financial year 2017-18.