The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pupils riot for ‘rights’ on capital street

Bhubaneswar, Sept. 8: The introduction of year-back system in engineering colleges triggered hooliganism on the capital streets this evening as hundreds of students of constituent colleges of Biju Patnaik University of Technology ransacked the city.

The enraged students assembled near the Master Canteen Square here around 4pm and started an hour-long rampage on Janpath, the main thoroughfare of the capital. More than 150 vehicles, mostly cars, were damaged.

The mindless violence continued for about an hour till police arrived at the scene, but not before the students damaged several stones commercial complexes hurling stones.

The students armed with sticks, scythes and rods went around the Master Canteen as they pulled and bent the iron fence encircling the square.

As the city recoiled in horror, the mob continued with their hooliganism breaking glass doors and windowpanes and smashing BMC billboards along the Janpath.

“They pulled down traffic kiosks and hurled stones at anyone and everyone. It was horrific,” said Bharadawaj Mishra, an executive in a multinational bank in the city.

As a contingent from the nearby police station moved in, the mob hurled brickbats till they were checked at Ram Mandir square. City DSP Sarat Sahoo said about 100 students have been arrested.

Surprisingly, the police were nowhere on the scene during the major part of the rampage though the place of occurrence was just 200m from the Assembly and the secretariat.

Reasoning the rampage, a section of the “agitating” students alleged that they would lose an academic year due to the introduction of the year-back system. According to the system, if a student fails in five or more subjects, then he/she would lose a year.

The students were also agitated over strict marking and alleged improper evaluation. They claimed that today’s incident was an outburst of their pent-up feelings.

“The vice-chancellor today left the meeting abruptly,” said a student.

BPUT vice-chancellor Omkar Nath Mohanty described today’s incident as unfortunate. He said if a student fails in a few subjects, he/she gets an opportunity to appear in an examination one- and-a-half-month after the final semester. “We will soon hold a meeting of the academic council to discuss the students’ demands,” he added.

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