The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Tuesday appealed the Panjab University (PU) to immediately withdraw the decision to drop Punjabi as a compulsory subject at the graduation level in all its affiliated colleges immediately.
Addressing a press conference, senior SAD leader Dr Daljit Singh Cheema warned Chandigarh-based varsity that Punjabis would never tolerate this discrimination against their mother tongue.
He said that Syndicate members who have supported this decision do not deserve to remain members of the university body.
The SAD leader also appealed to the staff and students of Panjab University to prevail upon its administration to withdraw this anti-Punjabi step.
“If this is not done the SAD will do its utmost to force the University to respect the sentiments of Punjabis and correct this wrong,” he added.
Dr Cheema said the Panjab University is part of the state capital which was established by uprooting the villages of Punjab.
“As many as 200 Colleges in Punjab are affiliated to the University. The University cannot discriminate against the mother tongue of the region. It cannot expect students to go to other States and countries to become proficient in their mother tongue.” he added.
Dr Cheema said propagation of the language and culture of the region was one of the founding principles of Panjab University and said the institution should not stray from this. He also disclosed how both Haryana and Himachal Pradesh had disaffiliated their colleges from the Panjab University after the reorganisation of Punjab.
He said colleges in Punjab continued to remain affiliated with the University and the Punjab government continued to give the University its due grant. “The University cannot by any stretch of imagination render such a disservice to its own people and state”, the SAD leader added.
Terming the entire sequence of events as part of a conspiracy to dilute Punjab’s claim to Chandigarh, Dr Cheema said “anti-Punjab and anti-Punjabi decisions are being taken in the union territory one after another.”
He said the University’s decision came days after the Centre decided to end the Punjabi bulletin in All India Radio, Chandigarh and transfer the staff producing the same to Jalandhar.
Dr Cheema said earlier Punjab’s right over Chandigarh had been diluted by not using Punjabi in official work and even removing Punjabi language signboards from the city.