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Utkal rival groups in assault blame game

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 20: Tension gripped Utkal University campus today as two groups of students accused each other of violence.

Last night, one group of students staged a protest outside Saheed Nagar police station by blocking National Highway No. 5. This group included former president of the Utkal University students’ union Tanmay Swain.

The other group gheraoed Saheed Nagar police station and the office of the deputy commissioner of police (DCP) this afternoon.

Firoz Kumar Ranahandol, 21, a first-year personnel management and industrial relation student, alleged that some youths attacked him near Durga Mandap at Saheed Nagar last night.

“The attackers included students from Utkal University. Their former president Tanmay Swain was there too, along with some other youths. They were armed with hockey sticks and baseball bats. I suffered injuries on my back and hands in the attack. They even took away my gold chain and cash worth Rs 5,000,” said Ranahandol. He said previous enmity was the cause behind the attack.

Ranhandol’s friend Nishan Mishra also suffered injuries.

However, after he went to Saheed Nagar police station and lodged a complaint, around 200 students from Utkal University went there as well. They alleged that Ranahandol had attacked one of their friends, a student of the archaeology department, on the university campus in the afternoon. They lodged a complaint against Ranahandol with Saheed Nagar police in the night.

Students led by Tanmay Swain then blocked the highway for about 30 minutes complaining lack of security. They said unknown people could enter and leave the campus at will because of the absence of security guards at the university gate. At times, these led to clashes.

“We had no role in last night’s attack. Their allegations are baseless,” said Swain. “We were protesting against lack of security on campus which often leads to such clashes,” he said.

The university authorities had deployed private security guards on the campus following such clashes in the past.

Today, Ranahandol and his friends gheraoed the Saheed Nagar police station in the afternoon demanding action against his attackers.

They staged a protest in front of DCP Nitinjeet Singh’s office. Later, they submitted a memorandum to the DCP demanding immediate action against the attackers.

Inspector in charge of Saheed Nagar police station K.P. Mishra said both groups had lodged cases against each other.

“We are inquiring into the matter. Action will be taken against the guilty,” said Mishra.

The Swain-led group today submitted a memorandum to the Postgraduate Council chairman demanding action against Ranahandol and his friends.