Allahabad: Protesting the order to vacate hostels, students of the Allahabad University Thursday fought pitched battles with police as they torched a police vehicle and two state transport buses as well damaging varsity property. Several students were injured in the clashes and taken to nearby medical facilities.
With the violence threatening to escalate further, police baton-charged the rampaging students and chased them away, a police spokesman told IANS. Police also lobbed tear gas shells to disperse the mob.
The sudden violence broke out after a simmering discontent over the hostel eviction orders issued by the varsity management.
The vice-chancellor had recently issued directives to all wardens of the hostels in the university campus that hostels be vacated after the examinations were over. Incensed at this diktat, students had been airing their disagreement and were claiming that this would effect their preparations for the competitive exams.
The angry students had cordoned off the Vice-Chancellor A.K. Singh’s office and held him captive for several hours following which a large contingent of polciemen had been deployed at the campus Thursday.
The violence broke out as rumours of disciplinary action against the protesting students did the rounds and by late evening students started pelting the police with stones and engaged in a direct confrontation.
The mob of students soon attacked anyone who came in their way, vandalized in the office campus and set on fire vehicles, including buses.
While the large contingent of security personnel managed to securely evacuate the VC and other staff held hostage, the atmosphere in the varsity campus remained tense.
Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and Rapid Action Force (RAF) units have been deployed in the area to avoid further flare up of the situation.
Senior Superintendent of Police, Allahabad Naveen Arora told IANS that the situation was under control in “the varsity campus and the city as well.” “The violence lasted for about 30 minutes but now things are fine, though some injuries from both sides have been reported” he informed.
Inspector General of Police (Law & Order) B.P. Singh told IANS that the situation was under control and other than containing the incident of violence, police was bracing up for Friday just in case a large number of students congregated and created any further ruckus.
“We are monitoring the situation and are hopeful that the violence would be contained and the campus would remain calm,” he added.