| A policeman talks to a student on the NIT campus in Patna on Thursday. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey |
Students of the National Institute of Technology on Thursday boycotted classes in protest against police lathicharge during a Saraswati idol immersion procession at Ashok Rajpath.
The students’ main demand is release of 40 students detained on charges of group clash and explosion of bombs.
Of the 40 detained, five students were sent to jail.
A final-year student of NIT-Patna said: “The police have arrested students on false charges. No action was taken against boarders of Minto hostel who instigated the violence.”
NIT students claimed the police raided the New Engineers’ Hostel meant for toppers after a bomb was exploded but neither any bomb nor any explosive-making material was recovered.
Another final-year student said: “Many students whom the police have detained are from Delhi, Ghaziabad, Bhopal, Calcutta and other south Indian cities. A police complaint can ruin their career prospects.”
The police, however, said the nabbed students would be released after proper verification. “The police have video-recorded the incident. There are closed-circuit television cameras installed in the area and we will look into those. At present, the verification process is on. People would be punished or released on the basis of the video clippings,” senior superintendent of police (SSP) Manu Maharaaj told The Telegraph. Sources added that a bomb was hurled at the police team as soon as it entered the NIT hostel.
“A police team entered the hostel during the violence and a crude bomb was hurled causing injuries to a few personnel. Legal action would be initiated against those involved,” another officer said.
On Wednesday, NIT Patna students had allegedly clashed with boarders of Minto hostel of Patna University. To control the situation, the police had to resort to a lathicharge. Fearing police action, many students have left their hostel.
The NIT administration, based on directions from NIT-Patna director Asok De, has constituted a committee comprising NIT registrar Vidhyasagar and NIT-Patna in-charge director M.M. Chaudhary to release the students.
Vidhyasagar said: “The NIT administration’s primary focus is to ensure release of students who were detained by police as soon as possible.”
Two groups of students, allegedly belonging to the Minto and Jackson hostels of Patna University, clashed on Wednesday evening during a Goddess Saraswati idol immersion ceremony.