|Students of Ramadevi Autonomous Women’s College demonstrate in Bhubaneswar on Thursday. Picture by Ashwinee Pati
Bhubaneswar, Oct. 4: Students of several colleges in Bhubaneswar today joined hands to demand adequate campus security and immediate arrest of those involved in the attack on boarders of a Utkal University hostel last night.
Nine persons were arrested today in connection with the violence. With this, 13 persons have been arrested so far.
The police said all those arrested today were former students of the university and they were later sent to jail after the local court rejected their bail pleas.
The students, who took part in today’s demonstrations, were from various institutions, including BJB College, Ramadevi College, Maharshi College and Rajdhani College.
While the students of Rajdhani College put up a roadblock on National Highway-5 for nearly half an hour, creating inconvenience to commuters, other students staged demonstrations outside their respective institutes.
“We condemn the act of attacking students of the university. The police must immediately arrest all the persons involved in the attack. In most of the colleges, outsiders are creating troubles, which need to be strictly dealt with,” said Sasmita Palai, a student of Ramadevi College.
To prevent outsiders from entering the hostel, Utkal University authorities have decided to install CCTV cameras at the gates of the hostels. In the first phase, the authorities will install cameras in hostel No. 1 and 2.
They have also decided to step up security at the entrance. “We are planning to install CCTV cameras in the hostels in phases. We also have plans of introducing a biometric system at the main gate,” said Utkal University registrar D.N. Jena.
The authorities have constituted a disciplinary committee to probe into the matter.
“Once the committee submits its report, action will be taken against the students involved in the incident,” said a university professor.
However, the students are cynical about the installation of CCTV cameras at the hostel gates.
“The authorities are yet to fulfil their promise of making the campus Wi-Fi or upgrading the library. This seems to be another empty promise on part of the university authorities,” said a student on condition of anonymity.
The university has six boys’ hostels with a capacity to accommodate nearly 1,200 students and five ladies’ hostels with a similar capacity. Sixty-four security guards are deployed on its campus.
The violence began last night when around 50 persons armed with wooden clubs and sticks barged into hostel No. 1 and attacked the boarders.
Following the incident, students of the university gheraoed the Saheed Nagar police station demanding action against the guilty.
Eyewitnesses said the attackers had covered their faces with handkerchiefs and also locked other rooms of the hostel from outside so that no one could come to the rescue of students who were attacked.
A senior police officer had said: “We are investigating whether the incident is linked to a clash that took place between two groups on the campus in July.”
“The campus atmosphere has turned violent because of the presence of thugs who are not students. The police must take stringent actions against them,” said Ajay Pani, an injured student.