The Telegraph
Saturday , October 1 , 2016

CUJ protests student deaths in Puri sea

Students of CUJ squat in front of the administrative building in Ranchi on Friday. Telegraph picture

Two students of Central University of Jharkhand (CUJ), who had stopped in Puri on their way back to Ranchi from an academic trip in Hyderabad, drowned while bathing in the sea on Thursday, triggering unrest on the campus on Friday with their varsity mates questioning the role of the teachers who had accompanied them.

Akash Raj and Aman Kumar, both aged around 23 and pursuing post-graduation in human rights and conflict management, had gone to National Institute of Rural Development, Hyderabad, on a week-long academic trip along with three girl students - Sharda, Akanksha and Sushmi - and teachers Ashok Nimesh and Ramesh.

They were supposed to return to Ranchi on Thursday morning and had train tickets till Bhubaneswar, where they were supposed to catch another train, Tapaswini Express.

"After reaching Bhubaneswar, the group found that Tapaswini Express was late. They decided to go to Puri. The rest are safe and are returning to RanchiAccording to sources, Nimesh was also caught in the high tide, but was saved.

Assistant professor-cum-co-coordinator of human rights and conflict management department Rajshree Padhi, who hails from Odisha, was coincidently present in her home state and reached Puri by late Thursday night.Contacted, Nimesh refused to speak on the tragedy while the CUJ administration curiously said that they were unaware of the demise of its students till Thursday the university and other officials must explain the circumstances that caused two young students to lose their lives.

"We have reason to distrust the institute because many questionable things took place here in the past, which were hushed up. Initially, we were never told about the number of students who had agreed to go on this trip to Hyderabad," a protester said.

Others claimed that the varsity should make its travel schedules for students public. "How come the teachers leading the group take a decision on their own to visit Puri? Had they taken any sanction from CUJ? When we asked the varsity to show us documents regarding the Hyderabad visit, officials gave us lame excuses. They are hiding something," said another student.

The vice chancellor promised an inquiry to fix responsibility for the deaths.

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