| Students protest in front of the main gate of the Institute of Technical Education and Research in Bhubaneswar. Telegraph picture |
Bhubaneswar, Feb. 12: Classes were suspended at the Institute of Technical Education and Research (Iter) at Jagamara today as a group of students staged a protest in front of the college gate demanding more security on campus.
The students locked the college gate and did not allow any member of the staff or students to enter the campus from this morning onwards. Consequently, the authorities were forced to close the college for the day.
A group of about seven youths had attacked several students of the college after forcibly entering the campus yesterday.
At least four students of the college, including two girls, had suffered injuries in the attack.
The attackers also ransacked two college buses and several two-wheelers parked in front of the gate.
The injured students were admitted to a nearby private hospital.
“We pay a lot of money to study here. But the authorities have failed to provide us with security even on campus. Some goons entered the campus and attacked us yesterday. The security guards were so scared at the outsiders’ entry that they scurried for cover. We demand enhanced security for us and action against those involved in yesterday’s attack,” said Dibya Ranjan, a fourth-year computer science student.
Another student, Jyoti Prakash, alleged that the college authorities did not take immediate steps when the outsiders attacked the students.
Sources said a drive for recruiting student members for the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), the students’ wing of the Congress, was going on at the engineering college when the outsiders’ group opposed the recruitment drive.
On being informed, Khandagiri police rushed to the spot. But the trouble mongers had managed to escape by then. The college authorities later lodged a complaint with the police.
Vice-chancellor of Sikshya O Anusandhan (SoA) University R.P. Mohanty said he was unaware of the reason behind the attack and the subsequent protest on campus.
“I have called the students for a discussion. But, they have not come to us yet. We will counsel them and find out what had happened,” said Mohanty, adding that the college had to be closed for the day for the protests.
He said the college had done its best to provide security to the students and there was no threat to anyone on campus.
Acting inspector in charge of Khandagiri police station Rajat Ray said a complaint had been registered this evening based on a complaint of the college authorities.
“We are inquiring into the matter. We hope to be able to arrest the accused soon,” said Ray.
Sources in the police said that there was tension in another engineering college located beside NH-203 near Koushalyagang as two groups of students clashed when the recruitment drive of the NSUI was going on there.
In an earlier incident on February 8, two groups of students of Utkal University brought allegations and counter-allegations against each other when the member recruitment drive of the NSUI turned violent with some students alleging that their seniors had issued threats to them.