Timely precautionary steps could have avoided Sikkim-HP students clash

  • Gurpreet Singh Chhina, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Dec 18, 2015 11:09 IST
Students from Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh fighting at the Institute of Technology and Future Trends, Mullanpur on Wednesday. (Gurminder Singh/HT Photo)

The attack on the students hailing from Sikkim by students belonging to Himachal Pradesh outside the Institute of Technology and Future Trends (ITFT), Mullanpur, on Wednesday could have been avoided, if the college management and the police had taken the matter seriously.

The police said racial remarks passed by the students from HP led to the clash for the first time on December 8. The video footage, in possession of HT, revealed the students from both the groups fighting with each other with batons and rods openly outside the campus, though the college authorities claimed there was no need to register a case as both the groups had entered into a compromise.

The minute-long footage — also uploaded on social networking website — shows the students attacking each other with weapons, leaving many of them injured. The issue of the safety of students in Chandigarh was also raised in the Sikkim assembly as one of the students thrashed during the clash was known to a north east political leader.

Since both the groups had been trying to settle score over some issue, they first entered into a fight on December 8. The war between both the groups continued with clashes on December 9, 10 and 11. And on Tuesday, they first attacked each other at the campus, but when the authorities intervened, the police held the Sikkim-based students on the campus, while asked to drop the HP-based students to their PGs. After an hour, when Sikkim students were being taken to the PGs, the HP students brought weapons and bricks and attacked the bus, leaving five Sikkim students injured.

College principal Inder Mohan said, “The police were called after a clash on December 8. Later, the students were counselled not to fight over trivial issues, and subsequently they entered into a compromise. However, they again entered into a brawl at Khuda Ali Sher after which 10 of them were arrested.” Meanwhile, SHO Mullanpur, Iqbal Singh, said, “The college authorities called the police on December 8 but requested not lodging a complaint, saying it’s an internal matter. Had the authorities given a police complaint, a legal action would have been taken against the erring students.”

Video shows Himachal students attacking college bus

The 2:37 minute video of the Tuesday’s clash revealed how the HP students attacked the bus in full public view. They could be seen throwing bricks on the bus and attacking the students. Total 10 students were on Tuesday.

10 more yet to be arrested

The police arrested 10 students — Ajay Kumar, Sunny Thakur, Manu Thakur, Vishal, Anil, Rohit, Pardeep, Vijay, Sandeep and Gurjant — for rioting and wrongful restraint, and sent them to judicial custody. More than 10 more were yet to be held, said the police.

Sikkim official raises safety issue

Dilip Kumar, deputy resident commissioner, Sikkim on Thursday visited the city to meet the victim students of Sikkim, and raised the question of their security with the police.

Member of legislative assembly Minchuk Bhutia, joint director, Chukchung Lepcha, also arrived here on Thursday. He will discuss the issue with the college authorities and the local administration.

Read: 5 injured in Sikkim-HP students’ clash; 10 held

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