Even as entire Gujarat is in the grip of a scary Covid19 and over 32,000 active cases in the State, the heartless management at Parul University wants their students to be on the campus. More than 65 Parul University students have caught the coronavirus, th Covid19 but the Management stubbornly refuses to go online. Attendance is compulsory and the students, mostly outsiders want to leave Vadodara and study online from their hometowns.
Angry students, miffed at the insensitive Parul University management got together and protested against the decision. Parul University management instructed their security guards to “give a good dose” to the students. The security guards got into a physical fistfight with the students who have been demanding that they should not be forced to come to college and the management should opt for online learning as most institutions do.
Parul Management reportedly told students that they don’t understand the concept of online education and that fees have to be paid on time and students will have to come n campus.
At least six students seeking anonymity spoke to Vibes of India. “I was physically assaulted by the security guards who clearly told me that Management has asked to teach students a lesson. I was holding a paper that said let’s have offline classes”, a student said. “It is so weird that our Management refuses to understand that with 65 students infected with Covid19 it is not a sane idea to gather on the campus and study. Our campus does not believe in social distancing and even masks are not compulsory even though the Management claims that they are careful during the pandemic, another male student from North Gujarat told Vibes of India (Vo!)
Even as 65-odd students have tested positive on the campuses of Parul University’s 32 affiliated colleges, the university has till now refused to budge. In a callous and careless manner, they have kept the college functioning offline.
“We have even written to the education department and the health department. We don’t feel safe on the campus but we are forced to be on the campus”, an OBC student told Vo!
About 28,000 students are currently studying at Parul University. At least 12,000 of these students live in on-campus hostels and are very scared of the hygiene practised in their hostels by the management. “We request the education department and health department to raid our college and hostel premises and force the Parul University Management to close down the campuses for students and opt for online teaching.
A student told VO!, “As the cases are increasing in the campus, we requested the university to shift to online mode, but the university keeps on making excuses.”
“Our exams are beginning next week, and it can be assumed that since most of the students will come on campus, it will not be feasible to follow the Covid-19 guidelines,” he rightly pointed out.
Finally, having lost all patience, the students on Monday stormed the campus to demand the university move to the online mode. Videos emerging from the campus showed the students clashing with the security guards outside the main building.
As it can be seen in the videos, there were hundreds of students protesting. They can also be seen chanting slogans for online classes. One of the slogans was, “We want online.”
When Team VO! contacted the Vice-Chancellor, Dr M N Patel, he claimed, “There is no problem in Parul University. There was no fight also. When Vibes of India pointed out the videos, Dr Patel slammed the phone.
And about the students’ demand for online classes, he claimed, “We are waiting for government guidelines,”. Vibes of India called up the Government authorities who categorically said, “there are no guidelines for private universities. The final decision lies with them”. The Government authority, an IAS officer who has earlier worked in Vadodara, informed Vo! of many other irregularities going at Parul University and said “they have political blessings and hence they go scot-free despite being such a third class place of learning”.
“For conducting online exams, there are many procedures that would need to be laid down, and we do not have the necessary infrastructure to do it, “ Parul University Vice-Chancellor said.
When confronted with figures, the Vice-Chancellor meekly admitted that there are at least 2 students infected by Covid-19 in each of the 32 institutions affiliated with Parul University.
The university founded in 2009 has been in controversy for one or the other reason, time and again.
The university has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Jayesh Patel, founder and former president of Parul University was arrested in a rape case. He raped a nursing student studying in the university and threatened to rusticate her. The complaint was filed in 2016. Patel was also associated with BJP at the time. Jayesh Patel later died in 2020 in a hospital in Ahmedabad while he was in police custody.
Patel had a diploma in Homeopathy and ran a clinic in Kothi, Vadodara which used to be a hub for illegal abortion at just Rs 150/-. First, he established a Homeopath institute in Ahmedabad and then went on to establish Parul University in Vadodara which is named after his eldest daughter.
Patel contested in Vadodara elections as a Congress leader in 2007 and 2012. He lost both times. In 2012, his son Devanshu was after alcohol worth Rs 53,000 was found in an abandoned ambulance, allegedly belonging to Parul Institute.
In 2014, he joined BJP after assembly elections. The following year Parul Institute was given university status.
After Jayesh Patel died, his son Devanshu assumed all the powers at the University.
In 2016, the university was termed ‘bogus’ by the education department of the state. The education department sent notice to its three campuses – Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Rajkot – regarding the functioning. The university was allegedly involved in a fake degree scam. The department ordered to take strict action against the university but the action was not taken.