Kathmandu, November 25
Tri-Chandra College Chief Pradeep Bahadur Neupane was mercilessly beaten up today by members of the student wing affiliated to the ruling Nepal Communist Party for raising fees of science and humanities streams.
Neupane was rushed to the National Trauma Centre after the assault, as he suffered injuries to his right shoulder. He has since been discharged.
Neupane was sitting in his office when around 30 members of the All Nepal National Free Students’ Union barged into his room at around 11:30 am by kicking the door open. One of them instantly kicked him and he fell to the ground. Others then grabbed him by his arms, threatened to punch him, shouted at him at the top of their lungs and used foul language, according to Neupane.
“Many of them were not even college students,” Neupane said. “Yet I tried to bring them to reason, but nobody listened to me. And there was no way I could get help as my colleagues were barred from entering the room while security personnel were not even allowed to enter the building.”
This ordeal, Neupane added, continued for almost 10 minutes. He was able to release himself from the grip of the angry mob after police personnel from Durbar Marg Police Circle forcefully entered the college building. Police have since rounded up ANNFSU Tri-Chandra Unit Co-ordinator Govinda Thapaliya and ANNFSU Tri-Chandra Unit member Man Raj Thapa. They have been kept at Durbar Marg police station for further investigation.
“My right arm is seriously hurt and I feel pain all over my body,” Neupane told THT. Doctors involved in his treatment said he suffered muscle cramps in his arm.
ANNFSU members launched the attack on Neupane, saying that the college administration had raised fees “without their consent”.
The college has raised fee for Bachelor of Science students to Rs 14,020 per annum from Rs 6,815. The fee for Bachelor of Arts students was increased to Rs 12,050 per year from Rs 6,590. Members of the student union had previously warned the college administration not to revise the fees without consulting them. But the meeting of the college management committee held last Friday had decided to hike the fees.
“We had warned the college administration and college chief not to raise the fee without students’ consent. But they did not listen to our request, so we had to take action,” said Sanjeev Dhital, former chair of Tri-Chandra College’s AANFSU Unit.
But Neupane said the fee was raised after 10 years. “Tribhuvan University has given us the authority to revise the fee every year, but we have not been able to do so for a long time because of threats from student unions,” Neupane said. “We had no option this time as the subsidy provided by the university is barely enough to cover daily cost. However, we still have not implemented the decision to raise the fees.”
The college was shut down after the incident, causing inconvenience to hundreds of students, as they could not attend classes. All the departments also remained closed throughout the day and very few professors and lecturers were seen on the college premises.
Nalini Joshi was one of the few students who was present in the college after the incident. She was there to submit her Master’s thesis. “We only get to meet our professors once a month. And that day was today. I’ll now have to wait until next month,” she said.