Harpreet Singh (22) was in the eighth semester of BSc (agriculture) course. On Wednesday, he was debarred from appearing in the practical exam. Under stress over it, he hanged himself from the ceiling fan in his hostel room.
One of the students, who also stays in the same hostel, said, “Harpreet didn’t come to play in the evening and didn’t respond to several phone calls we made to call him to the ground. When we went to check on him, we found him hanging and informed the college authorities.”
Students of the Khalsa College have been on strike since last night demanding the arrest of principal Mahal Singh, registrar Devender Singh and head of the agriculture department Randeep Kaur Bal.
Students, including classmates of the deceased, alleged that the college authorities were unfair with Harpreet. “He was a scholar and preparing for the entrance exam to be able to do MSc from some prestigious college. He used to attend private coaching classes for this and that’s the reason his attendance was less than required,” they claimed.
They said Harpreet was not alone, there were other students who also who had attendance related issues but were allowed to appear for the practical exam after paying a nominal fine.
Anticipating strong protests, heavy police deployment was made at the college. Harpreet’s father Yadvinder Singh, a farmer, reached Amritsar from Bathinda after college authorities informed him about his son’s suicide.
After police sent Harpreet’s body for postmortem, his father Yadvinder lodged an FIR against the Khalsa College principal, registrar and head of the agriculture department for abetment to suicide.
“No college official is yet come to speak to us. They cannot justify Harpreet’s death. It’s high time people should know about the unfairness of the college authorities. We will protest till the accused are arrested,” said a BSc student Jagjit Singh.
On Thursday, Harpreet’s father took his body back to Bhatinda after the autopsy. He asked other students to seek justice for his son.
Police authorities requested the students to let them open one side of GT Road blocked by them but they refused to budge. To extend support to students, Amritsar (West) MLA Raj Kumar Verka also reached the college and assured to take up the matter with CM Amrinder Singh.
Later in the evening, the Khalsa College Governing Council (KCGC) issued a statement calling the death as “tragic.” The statement further condemned the FIR lodged against the senior college officials. Meanwhile, the teaching staff also threatened to go on strike if the FIR against their senior colleagues was not revoked.