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Utkal falters on clash act

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 12: Utkal University authorities are yet to take steps to restrict the entry of outsiders to prevent clashes on the campus despite police directives.

The police had urged the university administration to engage adequate security personnel at all entry and exit points, take effective steps to expel non-students residing in the hostels and initiate disciplinary action against those involved in instigating other students.

Though the cops had suggested these measures last October, nothing has been done.

The university hostels are still occupied by a number of non-students, while security personnel manning the entry points and exit points are insufficient. This makes the campus easily accessible to outsiders.

The university authorities, however, feel steps have been taken to secure the campus from outsiders and frequent clashes.

“Adequate steps are being taken to curb incidents of student clash. The pass system would be introduced soon,” said PG council chairman P.K. Mishra.

The university authorities could well argue that 24 former army personnel have been deployed on the campus, but on most occasions, checking at the entry and exit points is not conducted strictly.

“Though the authorities had decided to issue passes to employees and students, it is yet to be implemented,” said an employee of the university.

Tension erupted on the campus yesterday after a student was allegedly beaten up by his rival group. Police said a long-standing rivalry between supporters of two political parties was the main reason behind frequent group clashes on the campus.

On September 4, six students from both the groups were injured in a clash, which led to tension on the campus. On October 3, both the groups had clashed at the university leaving three students injured. On July 13, a clash between the same groups had injured seven students.

The decision of university authorities to cancel the students’ polls this year too failed to calm down the groups.

“Only a handful of students are involved in group clash but the others are suffering for them. Frequent group clashes not only have soiled the prestige of the premier university, but also created difficulties for thousands of students staying on the campus,” said a student requesting anonymity.