Student leader’s arrest sparks violence
HOOLIGANISM ONCE again overshadowed academics on the Lucknow University (LU) campus when students and policemen clashed on Saturday.
All hell broke loose on the campus at 2.30 pm when the cops took into custody a student leader Pawan Kumar Singh, who is wanted in connection with several criminal cases, including that of an attempt to murder.
As the cops bundled Pawan into a jeep, his supporters tried to resist. As the news of Pawan’s arrest spread, his followers went on the rampage to protest the police action.
They manhandled police officials, snatched lathis from PAC men posted at counselling centres and roughed up cops and teachers in full public glare. The students also allegedly manhandled CO Direndra Rai and his men.
In the initial rounds, the rowdy students outnumbered the police and chased them away. Later, reinforcement was rushed in from several thanas to quell the violence and avenge the humiliation suffered.
Despite the strong contingent, the unruly students remained undeterred and engaged the cops in a pitched battle near gate number one. The students attacked the men in khaki with stones and in retaliation the policemen came charging with lathis. The attack left a dozen students injured. Finally, the cops had to fire in the air to disperse the mob and restore order on the campus.
The two-hour long violence left its scar all over LU. In the brief period, when the cops had retreated and till the time they came back reinforced, the irate students rocked the campus.
They flaunted firearms and attacked proctorial team members. The official vehicles of proctor AN Singh and additional proctor RC Tripathi were damaged. Even police jeeps parked on the campus were not spared.
While both the police and the proctor denied that they were mauled by irate students, SP West DK Rai told Hindustan Times that ADM TG and SP TG talked student leaders into ending their agitation. Though no FIR had been lodged till late night, Rai reiterated that action would be initiated against the rowdy elements. Condemning the incident, LU officials promised to act against the hoodlums.
Apart from denting the reputation of LU one more time, the incident forced many candidates, who had come to take admission, to leave the campus.