The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Campus clash defers students’ union poll

The authorities of National Institute of Homoeopathy on Monday indefinitely postponed Wednesday’s students’ union elections after an encounter in which members of the SFI allegedly entered the campus and clashed with a section of students late on Sunday.

Police said the violence started on Sunday night, leaving five persons injured, one of them seriously.

Students of the central government-controlled institute alleged that more than 100 members of the SFI, the CPM’s students’ wing, forced their way onto the premises and beat up students to “create pre-election panic”.

Two students were admitted to local hospitals, the institute authorities said. Section 144 has been imposed in the area.

Five persons — two interns and three students of the institute — were arrested in connection with the violence. The police move has been severely criticised by the authorities.

“The police arrested doctors who were on 24-hour duty from the campus without seeking my permission,” said S.K. Bhattacharjee, institute director. He has lodged a complaint with the police.

“The situation has become unstable and we had to postpone the students’ union election to ensure that peace returns to the institute,” Bhattacharjee said, adding that there is an attempt to find a peaceful solution to end the crisis between the rival groups. “Elections have been held for over two decades and there has been no trouble before,” he pointed out.

Police said the arrests were made on the basis of written complaints filed by the injured. “We arrested those whose names were in the first information report,” said Sujay Chanda, sub-divisional police officer, Salt Lake.

Students alleged the SFI members were trying to terrorise them. “They have been continuously threatening us and many students panicked,” said one of the students.

They claim that the SFI supporters forced their way onto the campus, locked up a number of students and beat them up. Abu Bakar Khan, one of the students, was severely injured and had to be admitted to a local hospital. They complained that the police had arrested their fellow-students instead of probing the reasons for the violence.

The local SFI leaders denied the charges, claiming the students had attacked another group that comprised supporters of the SFI. Samiran Paul, a SFI candidate standing for the post of assistant general secretary, and Abhinandan Ganguly, another student, were seriously injured, they said.

Other SFI members Arindam Chakraborty and Kaushik Biswas were also injured in the clash, they claimed. Ritesh Basu, a local SFI leader, said the boys had entered the campus to “save supporters from an attack by the students”. The SFI staged a demonstration outside the institute on Monday afternoon.

Teachers were concerned that continuing trouble would adversely affect the institute. “We want peace to be restored immediately,” said Subhas Singh, one of the professors.

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