LAHORE: The University of Engineering and Technology (UET) administration on Wednesday rusticated two students (for six months) and cancelled the hostel allotment of four for leading a protest demonstration on the campus against fee increase.

The UET had increased tuition fee for undergraduate programmes by 20pc and other amenities by 100pc for the current academic year at its Lahore, Kala Shah Kaku, Rachna and Narowal campuses in August. It also introduced charges on services that were earlier free and these included registration of an email address and student card.

The university’s magazine, medical, laboratory, sports, internet and transport fees for hostel students were also increased.

The students, along with civil society activists, held a protest demonstration against the university fee increase and cut in higher education budget on Sept 13.

Later, the Discipline Committee of the university took notice and initiated an inquiry. Led by convener Prof Dr Habib-ur-Rehman, the committee conducted hearings and punished the students involved in the protest, rusticating two students and cancelling hostel allotments of four.

According to a notification, “the Discipline Committee considered the matter and decided to rusticate Saad Ibrahim and Sohaib Arif for six months and also permanently cancelled their hostel allotments for being involved in maligning the university through planning, organizing a protest and provoking other students to participate in the protest thus breaching discipline rule.”

The committee also permanently cancelled the hostel allotments of Mustaqeem Sajid and Absan Abbas and issued a warning letter to them. It further issued a warning letter to Muhammad Suleman.

Meanwhile, the UET Progressive Students Organisation said the administration was intolerant of peaceful protest against its injustice.

UET Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Mansoor Sarwar said the committee had taken the decision after conducting inquiries and the students could appeal against the decision. He said action had been taken under rule 1 sub section 5 and rule 2 section a, b and h. He said the fee being charged by the UET Lahore and Taxila campuses was much less than that of other engineering institutions of the country.

Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2019