Guwahati, Nov. 30: Assam’s capital city came close to its second group clash in less than a week, this time between students of two educational institutions over the “issue” of a lovestruck suitor pulling a reluctant girl by her hand.
Unlike during last Saturday’s fracas involving Adivasi rallyists and a local mob, police were today prompt in preventing a flare-up. They fired in the air to disperse the two groups — one from Assam Engineering College in Jalukbari and the other from the Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology (Cipet) — just as they were about to start a free-for-all at Changsari on the outskirts of the city.
Two busloads of students from Assam Engineering College had reached the Cipet campus moments earlier looking for the youth who allegedly misbehaved with the girlfriend of one of them. Three more buses packed with engineering students were stopped on the way to Changsari and ordered back.
An officer posted at Kamalpur police station said an outgoing student of Cipet had proposed to the girl sometime back, only to be rebuffed. “The boy, who has since got a job with the Indian Air Force, approached the girl again yesterday and apparently tried to hold her hand to say goodbye. The offended girl, whose boyfriend studies in the engineering college, informed him about it and that triggered today’s reprisal attempt.”
Some residents of Changsari are said to have rallied around the group from Cipet when the engineering students threatened them.
Senior police officials, including the deputy inspector-general of the central-western range, G.P. Singh, went to Changsari on receiving the news. The situation was surcharged till late this evening with students at Cipet, not taking kindly to the aggression shown by their counterparts in the Jalukbari institution.
A student at Cipet said he and his friends were “fully prepared” to face the engineering students in the event of another raid. Several students staying elsewhere shifted to the hostel in the evening in apprehension of being attacked.
The police set up a picket in front of the Cipet campus to prevent a rerun of the day’s events after dusk. “Changsari might have become another Beltola had we not arrived on time. Our team was not a large one; so we had no option but to fire six rounds in the air to disperse the crowd. We also escorted the engineering college students back to their college and informed their teachers of what had happened.”
The Cipet campus is 7km from the engineering college.
Singh said the principals of both institutions were asked to organise meetings with the students’ unions and take necessary steps to stop such incidents from recurring.