The Telegraph
Friday , March 22 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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TN turmoil brings students home

Political unrest in Tamil Nadu over Sri Lankan Tamils has compelled the government there to shut down over 500 colleges for an indefinite period of time. This, in turn, has prompted thousands of students hailing from Jamshedpur to rush back to the safety of their homes.

About 200 students from various colleges and universities reached the city on Thursday after the Jayalalithaa-led government ordered a closure of the institutions.

Most students had to make the 38-hour long journey without reservations. While some managed to board the Alleppey Express, others had to travel to Rourkela on Chennai-Dhanbad Express and then take a connecting train to Tatanagar.

Vikas Mahakud, a fourth-semester B.Tech student at Bharath University, boarded the Alleppey Express on March 19.

He and his friends failed to get seats and had to sleep on newspapers. “It was a nightmare of a journey. We somehow reached home. We were told on Monday that the colleges would be shut for two days but later we learnt that the closure was for an indefinite period,” he told The Telegraph.

Notably, a number of colleges had initially announced that they would reopen within a few days. But, after the student agitation intensified, the government directed colleges to remain closed till the protests quell.

“More students from Chennai are on their way home after the new directive. Even our exams, which were to begin on March 25, have been cancelled,” said Suraj Kumar, another B.Tech student from Bharath University.

“It was an ordeal, but I am glad that we have reached our hometown. The streets are flooded with protesters so it is safer that we stay here at home. We will be in touch with our seniors and will return only when the college re-opens,” said Preeti, a fourth semester B.Tech student from SRM University, Chennai.