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Wall of resentment stalls exams, scares away students

- City colleges hit by ‘shutdown programme’ over XLRI’s boundary seek SDO intervention, mull police help

A protest by students of Jamshedpur Co-operative College against the 7ft boundary wall raised by XLRI, blocking a short-cut, snowballed beyond their campus to affect other cradles in the steel city on Tuesday.

Members of Jamshedpur Co-operative College Bachao Sangharsh Samiti — a joint front floated by students owing allegiance to various political outfits — tried to shut down Karim City College and The Graduate School College for Women in Sakchi, Jamshedpur Women’s College in Bistupur, ABM College in Golmuri and Jamshedpur Workers’ College in Mango.

While the institutions did not allow protesters to get in, the latter demonstrated in front of the gates and succeeded in scaring away most students. Exams were cancelled and attendance remained thin.

An effigy of XLRI director Father E. Abraham and vice chancellor of Kolhan University Alok Goyal were burnt near Jamshedpur Co-operative College before the “shutdown programme” was launched from Karim City College around 9am.

The disgruntled mob blocked the college gate for nearly 30 minutes before targeting The Graduate School College for Women, Jamshedpur Women’s College, ABM College and Jamshedpur Workers’ College, where sit-ins were held.

The agitation dealt a big blow to the LLB second semester exam at Karim City College where only one candidate turned up.

“Only one girl came to appear for the LLB exam. The agitating students outside must have stopped other examinees from coming in. Classes continued despite the ruckus outside. If protesters create trouble once again tomorrow (Wednesday), we may call police,” said Mohammed Riaz, senior faculty member and in-charge of examination, Karim City College.

Students of Jamshedpur Women’s College could not appear for their semester exams. “We postponed today’s exam. It will be held in January. We will not tolerate such disturbances in the future. We may seek help,” said principal Sumita Mukherjee.

At The Graduate School College for Women, attendance was hit. A large number of girls left campus, apprehending trouble. “Though teachers were present and classes went on, attendance was thin,” said principal Usha Shukla.

Jamshedpur Co-operative College principal R.K. Das admitted that the academic environment was being hampered by the campus unrest, which has been on since Sunday. “I have informed Dhalbhum SDO Prem Ranjan and our Kolhan vice chancellor Alok Goyal about the agitation. The SDO has promised to resolve the issue at a meeting tomorrow (Wednesday).”

Students, on the other hand, are in no mood to relent.

“We will continue to shut down colleges forcibly till the district administration dismantles the wall constructed by XLRI and gives a nod for a road. We want the road to be taken out from the lease area of Tata, which had given the land to XLRI to build its new campus. Common people should be able to use it to go to Marine Drive, Jubilee Park and Sakchi,” said Jamshedpur Co-operative College Bachao Sangharsh Samiti member Arvind Vaidya.

The Samiti plans to meet Union HRD minister M.M. Pallam Raju when he comes to XLRI to attend the inauguration of a global MBA programme on December 7.