Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Dec 12:
Vani Vihar, the campus of Utkal University, is no stranger to student unrest. But what has baffled observers is the fact that despite its long history of violence in the campus, university authorities have done precious little to ensure that peace and tranquillity prevails in the campus.
University authorities have been surprisingly squeamish about cracking down on errant students who have caused mayhem in the campus at regular intervals, allegedly due to political considerations. Wednesday’s violence, which left five students injured, is only the latest in a series of such incidents during which the authorities have chosen to look the other way even as a particular faction of students have gone on a rampage.
And it is not just rival factions or students at large, who are making the accusation. We now have the IIC of Sahid Nagar police, under whose jurisdiction the campus comes, making the same allegation.
“As many as 17 cognizable cases have been registered at Sahid Nagar Police Station alone involving the same rival groups since 13 July 2012. No tangible effort has been made by the University authority to lessen the animosity among the rival groups. Rather, it is reliably learnt that rivalry between opposing groups is increasing because of the leniency of the authority towards a particular group as suspected by other,” said a recent letter written by the IIC, Sahid Nagar Police Station to vice-chancellor of Utkal University PK Sahoo.
Even after a high-level meeting was held at the board room of the Police Commissionerate office, which was attended by vice-chancellor and other officials of the university, to discuss various aspects of the existing conflict and the need to enforce security measures, no tangible steps have been taken by the university authorities to bring back study atmosphere inside the campus, the letter said.
It is to be noted that the police had suggested engaging adequate number of private security personnel at all entry and exit points of the campus, ensuring the presence of responsible officers in all the hostels and taking effective steps to remove unauthorized persons residing in hostels.
Besides, it had also suggested disciplinary actions against students, who routinely instigate other students to disturb peace and tranquillity in the campus.
When OST tried to contact first the vice-chancellor and then PG Council chairman of Utkal University over telephone for their side of the story, the call went unanswered. The Registrar of the University also declined to comment on the issue.
Sources in the university say the vice-chancellor and the registrar do not see eye to eye, which has affected the development and academic atmosphere in the university.
Taking serious note of outsiders occupying hostels in various universities, Governor and chancellor of universities SC Jamir had sought a status report from the university on the issue. On the 71st foundation day celebrated last month, the Governor had also rapped the university authorities for always being in the news for all the wrong reasons and indulging in infighting.
Jamir had asked the top brass of the university to stop infighting while addressing the 71st foundation day function of the university. “If we look back on what happened in the last 12 months, we see the university finds itself regularly in the news for reasons other than academic excellence, and mostly for undesired happenings on the campus,” Jamir said.
Stating that discipline is applicable not only to students but also to teachers, Jamir said a teacher without discipline can’t be an ideal guide. The governor’s speech was widely seen in the varsity fraternity as a reference towards frequent campus unrest and infighting among top varsity functionaries.