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April 2, 2001 - April 3, 2001

Engg students question conduct of elected representatives Tuesday, April 3, 2001

VADODARA: The clash between two students' group of faculty of technology and engineering has raised serious concern about behaviour of students' representative.

The alleged attack on students' representative of mechanical engineering department Yagnesh Jobanputra by faculty students' association general secretary Jayesh Radaria has sent negative vibes among engineering students on technology campus.

Simultaneously, the incident has also created a dent in popularity of M S University students' union general secretary (MSUSU) Bharat Dangar who belongs to technology faculty.

Engineering students had a played a major role in Dangar's victory as MSUSU GS and took pride in the fact that the top student leader at the helm of MSU students union affair belongs to their faculty.

But Dangar's association with Radaria and of late, as a section of engineering students point out, their bullying of students of a certain department had put off many engineering students.

The Saturday's attack on Jobanputra, is thus seen as the last straw.

Even as a straight divide between the two students group, who fought each other, is visible, resentment against Dangar and Radaria is simmering on technology campus. Many students question the very fact that an elected students representative, that too of faculty of technology and engineering, brutally beat up a fellow student.

"They beat us because we organised a farewell party and did not allow the entry of Radaria and Dangar's friends. We did so because it was a mechanical engineering department's affair and outsiders had no business to be there. This was not liked by the two student leaders and they had warned us of the consequences", said third year mechanical engineering student Pralay Patel.

Patel was also allegedly beaten up in Saturday's fight.

"I was dragged out of my room in S J Hall and beaten up. I and Yagnesh were targeted because we were the organisers of the farewell party held last week", Patel said. A majority of students of mechanical engineering department feel that Dangar and Radaria had made the farewell party ban on their friends as an ego issue.

"It hurt their egos that we did not allow their group to enter the party", said a mechanical engineering student.

Students in particular resent Dangar's involvement in the entire case. Many feel that Dangar's proximity to Radaria is due to the latter's political connections. "The MSUSU GS is in favour of Radaria because Radaria is related to a BJP top guy", said a BE mechanical student.

Radaria and Dangar vehemently deny the charges levelled against them. "On the contrary we were being harassed by them. I reiterate that many mechanical engineering student who supported me in elections were not allowed in the farewell party of their own department", Radaria said.

Dangar, on the other hand, said that there was no political understanding between him and Radaria. "He is a member of the union. Besides we belong to the same faculty and hence are close to each other. Our proximity however does not mean that I have ignored other students of engineer. I know that I am their representative and all their causes are very dear to me," Dangar said. He denied that there was any ego tussle. "There is no question of an ego fight", he said.

However, many engineering students do not buy this argument. Most question the conduct of elected representatives. "Is this the way a students representative behaves. An FGS is a model.

He has to lead by example. In this case the FGS behaved like an outlaw or an undisciplined student. This is what hurts us the most," said a student of civil engineering.

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Bhavan's ex-students allege victimisation Tuesday, April 3, 2001

VADODARA: Three ex-students of Bhavan's school have alleged that the school authorities have deliberately misplaced their maths answer-sheets just to victimise and harass them.

On Saturday, when these three students - Shail Patel, Saurabh Patel and Prashant Patel - went to take their answer-sheets they were informed that the subject teacher was not able to locate their maths answer-sheets.

These students were victimised by the school authorities on Wednesday, too, when they refused to show these students their answer-sheets. While rest of the students were given their marks and answer-sheets, the seven students who had taken school leaving certificate were made to wait outside the school premises.

These students had taken leaving certificate from the school after the school authorities tried to shield the Munshi Hall Hostel warden BK Bakshi and house-master Vijay Kumar who are accused of beating up students.

"Our class-mates were shown answer-sheets on Wednesday. Though we waited for our results on Thursday, the teachers refused to show us our answer-sheets. But later when on Friday when the teachers finally showed us our answer-sheets to our dismay we found that three answer-sheets of maths were missing," said Shail Patel, a standard XI student. His friend Prashant Patel added, "I think this was a deliberate step on the part of the teachers to trouble us. Our fault being we have taken LC and spoken against the irregularities in the school."

"Earlier they said that we were no more the students of the school and so won't be shown our answer-sheets. Now they say that they have lost our mathematics answer-sheets. I find this a little fishy", Saurabh Patel, a standard XI science student. He had taken leaving certificate from the school after the BK Bakshi-Vijay Kumar controversy.

The Times of India tried contacting the Bhavan's school authorities, but they were not available for comment.

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Children say goodbye to books...for now Tuesday, April 3, 2001

VADODARA: It's that time of the year again when students look forward to enjoying their summer vacations and visiting relatives.

In most of the schools the final examinations were over by Saturday. "I feel as if I am the bird out of a cage. No more tension of homework for another three months. I can play cricket and watch TV, without anyone asking me to go and study," said Achyut Reddy, a standard VI student of Baroda High School in Alkapuri.

He added, "My exams got over at 10.30 am and since that time I am playing cricket with my friend. I was so busy preparing for my final exams that I couldn't get time to play or watch television."

If some are in mood to play, others just want to relax. "I will be joining basketball coaching and painting classes within a week. So, at present, I want to relax and enjoy my vacations," said Priyamvada Goyal, a standard VI student of Rosary School.

However, she feels that three-month long vacations are boring. "You enjoy the initial days of the vacation. But after a few days, I miss the school, friends and strangely enough, even the books and homework," she added.

But there are people like Shweta Mehta who feel that vacations are the time to pursue their dreams. "I want to be a fashion designer when I grow up. So I devote my vacations to drawing different types of sketches. Everyday I draw five to six sketches," says Mehta, a standard VIII student of Baroda High School.

However, there are children who are unhappy about the fact that they cannot enjoy their vacations as either their brother or sister is preparing for the board exams. "I am extremely bored. Moreover, I can't watch TV as my brother's board exams are starting from Tuesday," said Falguni Patel of Ambe Vidyalay.

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Working parents' children pose problem for schools Tuesday, April 3, 2001

VADODARA: * Rita, a sixth standard student of Navrachna School shouts and argues in the class, to ensure that things are done her way. Her father is working abroad, while her mother is an executive in a reputed firm in the city. Both have no time for Rita.

* Harsh Mehta, a seventh standard student of Tejas Vidyalay often complains to his teachers, "I want to stay at school and play with my friends. I hate to go home. My parents don't have time for me".

* Twelve-year-old Henna Parikh of Sanskar Vidya Vihar acts more mature than children her age and remains withdrawn in the classroom. Being the eldest daughter she has to take care of her younger siblings as both her parents are working.

* Maneesh Agrawal is an only son. His parents have gifted him with the latest electronic gadgets in the market. But he is often seen sulking and complaining that his parents neither talk to him nor help him in his homework.

The fast growing trend of working parents and the sudden shift from old family traditions to emphasis on career and materialism, has had a negative impact on the minds of innocent, proverbial little angels, feel school principals, counsellors and even parents themselves.

Principals and counsellors say that younger students whose parents are working often need counselling and emotional support. Lack of communication with parents, anxiety, insecurity and a feeling of being neglected at home give rise to a feeling of dissatisfaction and delinquency amongst children.

According to the counsellors, a large number of students whose parents are working are hyperactive or withdrawn. Some have difficulties in coping with syllabus, while others spend their spare time watching obscene scenes on TV or the Net. Reasoning, arguments and even punishment sometimes have no affect on the child, say counsellors.

"We sometimes have problems dealing with children whose parents are working. When we try to punish them, they turn aggressive and start arguing," says Sanskar Vidya Vihar principal Minakshi Jha. Tejas Vidyalay vice-principal S Govindan added, "Ambitious parents are responsible for this. They are busy in their own world and often forget about their child. Sometimes, when we call parents to the school and complain against the child's behaviour, it has a negative impact on the child. Instead of helping the child, couples fight and blame each other."

Counsellors say that often-overworked parents are unable to devote quality time for their children. "A child needs emotional security, a feeling that there is someone to help him. If he has no one to help him deal with stress at initial stages, then he becomes insecure and self-centred. It even affects their growth and personality," says Geeta Sikdar, a counsellor at Navrachna School.

Working parents too admit to a feeling of guilt about not being able to spend quality time with their children. "I feel I am doing injustice to my children. As a mother I should balance both home and work. I should talk and play with them and answer their curious, innocent questions, but unfortunately I fail to find time for my children. My husband too is extremely busy and hardly finds time for the children. I am always in a dilemma. I love my work as much as I love my children," says Nikita Shah, special auditor at Baroda Dairy and a mother of two.

"We have to work to sustain the needs of the family and to ensure a secure future for our child. But lack of proper infrastructure at home and office leads to a rift between husband and wife, this in turn robs a child of his innocence," says Rohit Prajapati, an activist. (Names of students have been changed)

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Rebellion brewing in Gujarat BJP Monday, April 2, 2001

News Source:
Gandhinagar: Rebellion is brewing in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Gujarat.

Rajendrasinh Rana, president of the Gujarat BJP, has admitted that around 23 legislators of the party, including at least three ministers, have launched a signature campaign for the removal of Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel.

"This is for the first time in last three years that a section of party legislators have directly demanded the chief minister's resignation," said Rana, at a press conference in Gandhinagar.

Adding to this, two BJP Members of Parliament from Kutch, Pushpadan Gadhavi and Anant Dave, have submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee exposing irregularities in resettlement and rehabilitation of earthquake-affected people.

The legislators also held a press conference in Delhi Saturday accusing the state administration of its total failure in implementing various packages announced by the government.

The only satisfaction for the chief minister is that at least 13 legislators have withdrawn their signatures to the memorandum, which is to be submitted to the party high command demanding a change of leadership in the state. Rana hinted at the possibility of the party leadership taking disciplinary action against at least some dissidents.

The chief minister has been able to persuade state Industries Minister Suresh Mehta, who looks after the affairs of Kutch, to withdraw his resignation, but Union Minister for Textile Kashiram Rana and at least three other Gujarat ministers, Narottam Patel, Dilip Patel and Mahendra Trivedi, have been carrying on a campaign against the Patel government in dinner meetings and secret conclaves.

Rana, who discussed political events with Patel Saturday, told reporters, "We have not arrived at any conclusion about what to do with the demand for the chief minister's removal, but we have taken the matter quite seriously."

When repeatedly asked about the role of Kashiram Rana in the signature campaign, the BJP president said: "Problems do exist also because of the exposure of corruption in defense deals and initially there were many apprehensions. Party workers asked many questions, but slowly they are coming out of the shock and now have agreed to participate in Kar Seva (voluntary work) from April 2 in the quake-affected areas," he added.

Rana said former BJP president Bangaru Laxman, who is a Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat, had also been invited to participate in the voluntary work as "he is one of us."

Rana also hinted at the party leadership considering some action against Minister for Jails and Rural Housing Jaspal Singh, who had accused the state administration of indulging in corrupt practices in the purchase of relief material and its distribution.

As such, many BJP leaders are worried at the credibility of the party hitting its lowest ebb. At least one deputy minister, Purshottam Solanki, was arrested under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) for alleged involvement in shady land deals, while the Ahmedabad police has declared three other ministers in the Patel cabinet as "absconder".

Adding to the BJP's woes, trade and business organizations in quake-ravaged Kutch and Surendranagar are now holding protests and strikes demanding better relief. There have also been demands for a separate state of Kutch from many quarters, accusing the government of failing to provide relief to quake victims in the region.

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