Yuva Sena activists say they wanted university sports director to experience what students sent to Patiala archery competition on unreserved train tickets went through
Toilet training: Yuva Sena activists arrived at U N Kendre's office next
to Wankhede stadium around 11 am, locked him in the toilet and left
Political activists manhandling government officials is not new, but now a more refined way of harassing people seems to be emerging, and it involves locking people in the toilet or in their office. The Shiv Sena's youth wing Yuva Sena resorted to this kind of behaviour three times in the past few months.
The most recent incident of the kind happened yesterday, when Yuva Sena activists locked Mumbai University sports director U N Kendre in the toilet and left. Kendre was trapped in the toilet for nearly an hour, before his staff unlocked the door and rescued him. The entire operation against Kendre was conducted by Pradeep Sawant, a senate member of the Yuva Sena, along with party activists, who arrived at the university sports director's office next to Wankhede stadium around 11 am. The Sena activists were unhappy over the university sports director not having made adequate arrangements for six students participating in an archery competition that was scheduled from November 8 to 10 in Patiala.
Lovked up: Sports director U N Kendre was trapped in the toilet for
nearly an hour, before his staff finally unlocked the door and rescued him
According to university officials and political activists, the students were sent by train a day before the event, on November 7, and reached the venue after the competition had started. None of them could participate in the competition. "The university knew about the competition well in advance and even we had told them about it. However, it never took the matter seriously and sent the students with unreserved tickets. Moreover, the students reached over an hour after the event had started on November 8," said Sawant. "Most of the students were forced to sit next to the toilet in the train compartment."
Sawant said Kendre had been asked to pull up his socks before, but had failed to do so. "We have been asking U N Kendre, the sports director, to mend his ways and take the matter seriously but he never bothered, and that's the reason we locked him in the toilet and made him go through the same things he made the students who were representing the university face during their travel," said Sawant. "The students also had to face more humiliation when they weren't able to register themselves at the venue because they arrived late."
After the toilet incident, Kendre locked himself inside his cabin for a long time and refused to come out to meet or talk to anybody. It was only in the evening that he responded to queries. "Whatever has happened, I do not want to talk about it. I have notified my seniors about the incident and whatever they decide will be the final thing. I am not going to complain to anybody; I did my job of reporting the matter to the seniors," said Kendre.
University vice-chancellor Dr R Welukar did not wish to comment on the issue, saying the registrar would be able to answer any queries. Registrar Murlidhar Kurhade said a report on the whole episode was awaited. "We have asked for a detailed report from the director about why the students didn't reach the event on time and also a report on the whole incident that happened today at his office," said Kurhade. "Only after the report reaches me would I be able to comment properly."
The staff at Kendre's office was taken aback by the whole incident. "We agree that there was a delay in sending the students, but then there exists something called law and order in the state," said a staff member. "If they (Sena) feel nothing is happening according to their will, that does not mean they can barge into the office and lock our officer in the toilet." The staff member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said they had tried their best for the students. "We are also helpless, we do not get confirmed tickets. The Railways never understands our problem and doesn't give any preference to us. How are we supposed to get tickets and that too confirmed ones?" said the staff member.
The officer also dug out some other invitations to show how other universities send invitations at the eleventh hour and finding a ticket becomes difficult. "We have requested the Railways, but their officials ask us to talk to officers in Delhi. We try our best, but then even our hands are tied," said the officer. The Sena says the university sports department has lost its way under the leadership of Kendre. "On several occasions we had told the director to take steps that would benefit the students. Even in the archery case, we had told him to take necessary steps so that the students reach safely and on time.
But when he's adamant on not paying attention to our demands and nobody in the government wants to take a note of such serious issues, we are forced to take such steps to teach them a lesson," said spokesperson of Yuva Sena and MLA Captain Abhijit Adsul. The political activists even got a letter signed from Kendre that said if he repeated any mistake of the kind, then he would resign from the post.
Not the first time
Sena activists have locked up office-bearers and others in universities earlier as well. In June, they locked the vice-chancellor and registrar of Amravati University in a room for not taking cognisance of wrongly printed sections in the question papers of a particular class. In August, students locked the examination controller of Mumbai University in his room for delaying the results.