The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Students in suicide bid after dental test bar

Patna, June 26: Six aspiring dentists from Darbhanga Dental College took an overdose of sleeping pills after a last-ditch attempt to persuade the authorities to let them sit for the final examination failed.

They were admitted to the Patna Medical College and Hospital last night in a critical condition. This morning, however, doctors told their relatives they were out of danger.

“The students had consumed overdoses of sleeping pills but they are now out of danger,” said Rajendra Kumar, the attending doctor at the hospital.

The three men and three women — all from Jammu and Kashmir barring one — have been agitating for long for permission to appear for the Bachelor of Dental Science Examination, which began today in Bihar.

But though they have completed their coursework, they have failed to sway the authorities because of a dispute over their college’s accreditation.

No tests have been arranged for the college since 2000.

Students of the college, who have been demonstrating on the streets by cleaning passing cars and polishing boots of pedestrians, yesterday met governor Rama Jois in a bid to win an assurance. But the governor reportedly told the delegation he could not help.

Police said the students then assembled in a hotel on Jamal Road where Masud Nazki, Purvez Ahmed Mir, Mai Mona, Saltanat Tasin, Kamal Sengupta, who is from Assam, and another student took the overdose. Fellow students rushed them to hospital.

Kamaljit Singh Khera, a fellow sufferer, said many students of the college have spent a lot of money to get admission as well as over coursework. So the state government’s decision to de-recognise the college and cancel its affiliation to L.. Mishra Mithila University have pushed them to the “end of their tether”.

“The government’s stand has jeopardised the fate of at least 50 students. Committing suicide is the last straw left for us.”

“It’s better to die here than to go home empty-handed,” he added.

“Our appeals have fallen on deaf ears,” said Manjit Singh, a student who was not among those who attempted suicide. “We took this to Patna High Court in 2002 but we’ve so far failed to win justice.”

Sources in the department of medical education said the government was not in a position to help the students as the college has failed to get a no-objection certificate from the state to regularise its functioning.

The state government recently cracked down on dental colleges running in the state illegally. The Darbhanga Dental College was one of those on the list.

Dayanidhi Roy, an exam controller, said the courts have cleared the way for tests of students from three other dental colleges here but so far not Darbhanga.

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