The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Uneasy truce, malice smoulders

Jamshedpur, June 2: Shortage of seats but high demand for BEd course has forced students into street fights.

Police and politicians brokered peace here today between warring factions of tribal and non-tribal students, who had reduced the Co-operative College campus here to a war zone yesterday. But indications are that the truce is temporary.

At a three-hour meeting at Bistupur police station, students promised that they would not take law into their hands.

Following the compromise, arrived in the presence of the JMM, BJP and Congress leaders, police withdrew the earlier order to vacate a hostel meant for tribal students by this afternoon.

Non-tribal students had clashed with groups of tribal students here yesterday, demanding that forms for BEd should not be given to the latter at the Co-operative College. The unreasonable demand, they claimed, was in retaliation to tribal groups preventing distribution of forms to general category students at Bahragora, Chakradharpur and Chaibasa.

Congress-affiliated National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) and tribal groups, backed by the JMM and others, reluctantly tendered an apology for the ugly incidents and pledged to maintain peace.

While political parties rushed to defuse the situation in view of the impending by-election to fill up the vacant Lok Sabha seat from Jamshedpur, resentment continues to simmer among both the groups.

“Last time we had just stopped non-tribals from taking forms but now if they dare to walk into any of the colleges at Bahragora, Chaibasa or Chakradharpur, we will teach them a lesson. Yesterday we administered a lesson to NSUI district president Rajnish Singh and he is in hospital. Now we will ensure that others who try to get into our colleges also follow him there,” said a defiant tribal student, who had spent last night in the police lock-up.

As a precautionary measure, distribution of forms for BEd was suspended at Co-operative College, said principal .N. Ojha, and shifted to the branch office of Ranchi University at Bistupur “till the situation becomes normal”.

Significantly, only 10 colleges under Ranchi University, out of over 60, offer BEd and there are only 100 seats in each of these institutions.

With around 13,000 posts of teachers vacant in government schools alone, there is a rush for admission to the BEd course.

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