Sikh students boycott classes, seek termination of HOD

Syed Junaid Hashmi

Jammu

Mahant Bachittar Singh College of Engineering and Technology (MBSCET) was today rocked by violent protests against the alleged knocking-off of the turban and subsequent dismissal from services of a class-IVth employee of the college belonging to Sikh community.

College students boycotted classes and alongwith locals, mostly members of the Sikh community gathered outside the gate of MBS College of Engineering and Technology located in the Jeevan Nagar locality of Miran Sahab area in the outskirts of Jammu city and raised slogans against the college administration, seeking restoration of the sacked employee and action against the guilty faculty member. They demanded that the guilty faculty member, Vishal Gupta, who is Head of the MCA department, should be immediately sacked.

With sloganeering getting louder and louder, the college administration fearing violence decided to suspend the class-work and call those leading the protests for holding a dialogue with them. Led by a student leader, relatives of the dismissed Class-IVth employee Gurdayal Singh Chada held an hour long meeting with the Principal Dr. Anjani Kumar, Dean Academic Affairs Prof. Parveen Singh and Administrative Officer Hardip Singh Gill. They demanded that the employee should be re-instated without any condition and action should be initiated against the HOD.

The administration requested the relatives of the sacked employee and the students to give them two days for holding an inquiry, to which they agreed. Thereafter the protestors left the venue but not before making it clear to the administration that if the guilty faculty member is not sacked, they would not allow the class work. On being asked, the sacked Class-IV employee Gurdayal Singh told Kashmir Life that he was manhandled by the Vishal Gupta.

“Vishal Gupta who is HOD of the MCA department where I am working as an attended since last 12 years, would often threaten, intimidate and abuse me without any reason. He would often take me to his home for doing his personal work. I was working as class-IV employee in MBS as well as helper of Vishal Gupta. The college administration knew this well and they never questioned Vishal over this,” said Gurdayal. He added that a week back, Vishal slapped me and knocked-off my turban in full view of the college students.

“He did this because I refused to do his personal chores,” alleged Gurdayal. “I approached the higher authorities against this sacrilegious act of Vishal Gupta. Turban is a religious obligation for Sikhs and if someone knocks-it off, he has to be taken to task. I kept pleading for action against the HOD for playing with my religious sentiments,” Gurdayal said. This was followed by HOD Vishal Gupta forcing the administration to relieve of my duties.

“I am 55 year old with four children to take care of and I have been sacked. How would I now manage my poor family,” Gurdayal said. He added that he even approached the head priest for action against Vishal but owing his influence, he is not being touched. “I am poor man. I was physically abused and mentally tortured by HOD Vishal Gupta. I won’t stay quiet till the time action us not taken against this man,” affirmed Gurdayal.

He pleaded with Sikh community to come to his rescue. “Turban is a sacred symbol for we Sikhs. That symbol has been targeted. How can we sit silent,” said S.Mohinder Singh, a Sikh protestor.

However, HOD MCA Vishal Gupta denied all these allegations and said that the said employee Gurdayal Singh Chada has cooked up this story. “He is lying. How I can touch turban of a Sikh when I know very well how significant it is for them. He misbehaved with me and i complained with the management. That is the entire issue,” said Vishal.

He added, “This is two month old incident. An inquiry was ordered. He accepted before the inquiry committee that I did not touch his turban. Now, he is doing this because management has removed him from the services for reasons best known to them.”

This incident has made my life miserable as I have been accused of something which I can’t even think of since I know I am working in a college which is being managed by members of Sikh community, added Vishal.

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