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AgitationStudents of the Department of Electrical Engineering at Malla Reddy Engineering College went on a strike against their Head of the Department, Prof. P.Krishna Sureshwer on Friday, the 30th of January, 2009. The major cause behind the strike stemmed from a fateful incident that took place earlier in that week. Karthik, one of the students pursuing his B.Tech second year from EEE at MREC had lost his father on Wednesday in a fatal road accident. Apparently, the student was being contacted to attend to his father during  serious emergency hour while his mobile phone had been confiscated by their HOD, the previous day without prior notice. Although the students do not attribute the fatal accident to be the HOD’s folly, they protested against his confiscation act which took place without notice due to which the student could not attend to his dad in his final minutes.

Apparently, on the previous day while the students were in their laboratory session,  HOD had checked their bags , which were placed on a rack outside the lab with out any warning or notice. It was only later in the day that all of the students realized that their mobiles were confiscated. Close peers of the students and all of his classmates seriously condemned against such ruthful acts of the HOD without giving them any prior notice regarding confiscation of mobile phones. “Although mobile phones are officially banned in most of the professional colleges in city, it is a common practice for all of us to use them even within the campus, out of the reach of the management. Had we known that our HOD was seriously against using mobile phones, we would have taken measures to see that we use them only during emergencies. The mobile confiscation took place without any sort of notice and this is what annoyed us the most. It was a major loss to our dear friend who could not reach his dad even in those final moments”, says Lalith one of the close peers to Karthik , who is also a student from the EEE department.

Allegedly, the students protest saying that there were more reasons behind this strike. The HOD had been literally behind the students, treating them like mere school kids rather than students pursuing a professional course of study. “ He has a problem with us sitting in the lawn even during the break time, catching us anywhere in the campus without knowing our purpose of being there, taunting at the minor mistakes that we made, demoralizing us in every sense. He would catch hold of us and scold us even if we were seen in the library. We had enough of this and had to get rid of him someday”, says an annoyed girl student of the same department.

Student gathering in front of EEE block.

Student gathering in front of EEE block.

The strike went on for two days. On Friday, EEE students had assembled at the lawn in front of their block and started off with shouts of protest until they caught the management’s attention. The same went on for two hours or so when their HOD came to try and calm them down. Also, the whole EEE faculty had poured down to calm their students down but in vain. Finally, the administrative officer had to come to the mob to request them to assemble in the seminar hall to list out their woes against their HOD. The Principal and the Administrative officer had listened to the long list of problems they faced and assured them that required action will be taken at the soonest possible. Knowing the procedures of the college quite well, this assurance had not pacified them. The students had no stopping at this. The next day, a greater crowd had gathered in front of the Dean’s office protesting for the same reasons. The HOD had come to declare that he would henceforth resign from this post. Even this declaration did not quench the aggression of the students who said they would only believe it after they see a signed and approved copy of his resignation letter. When the students realized that things were not working out, they had requested their peers from all the other branches for support in the strike.

Within no time, almost all the students in the college from different branches had assembled in front of the Dean’s office protesting for justice to be done. The situation went out of control with so many students at stake. After a precise but profound discussion that the Dean had with the Principal and the Administrative Officer, Dean had declared to the students gathered in front of his office that he had always stood by the students in problems and even this time would take the necessary action. He assured the students that by the next working day, Head of the EEE department would not be in his post.With staunch belief in the Dean’s words, the students had calmed down and thanked him with broad smiles and cheerful faces. Slowly the mob started to disperse with squeals of triumph and happiness. In every walk of our education system, we find student associations, gatherings and groups to be the most powerful of mobs. If their protest is genuine, they would go any lengths to prove it right and demand justice to be done. In the true sense this is something we refer to as Students’ Power!

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