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Teen killed by misfiring pistol, over a dozen hurt in run-up to MP students’ union polls

Students’ union elections in Madhya Pradesh are being held after a gap of six years.

bhopal Updated: Oct 29, 2017 21:40 IST
Shruti Tomar
Shruti Tomar
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
MP students union polls,Hindu Chhatra Sangathan,National Students’ Union of India
Several students were injured in clashes between Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) activists in different parts of the state.(PTI Representative Photo)

A teenager died after being struck by a bullet from a misfiring pistol and dozens of youngsters were injured in clashes across Madhya Pradesh in the run-up to students’ union elections being held in the state after six years.

Rahul Banjara, 17, a supporter of Hindu Chhatra Sangathan, a local students’ union in Neemuch district, was struck by a bullet from an illegal, country-made pistol around 12.30am on Saturday, said police. Banjara, a Class 12 student at a private school, was with members of the Hindu Chhatra Sangathan who were discussing the elections, police added. He died on the way to hospital.

A member of the organisation, Naveen Tiwari, who is a government employee working with the revenue department, fired a shot from the pistol but it misfired, said police. Tiwari fiddled with the pistol and Banjara was close by. The pistol fired and the bullet hit Banjara in the stomach.

Police arrested Tiwari, but declined to comment on speculation that he and others with him were trying to threaten students into voting for their candidates.

“The incident doesn’t have any direct relation with the students’ union elections. The accused and victim were present at the spot to support and discuss students’ union elections,” Tusharkant Vidyarthi, superintendent of police (SP), Neemuch, said on Sunday.

On Saturday, several students were injured in clashes between Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) activists in different parts of the state. The clashes erupted during the filing of nominations for class representative (CR) posts.

The CRs will vote for the students’ union elections on Monday to elect office-bearers and working committee members.

At St Aloysius College in Jabalpur, an ABVP activist was allegedly attacked with sharp-edged weapon by rivals, while an NSUI activist alleged that his opponents sliced his ear.

Police used force to disperse jostling students in Bhopal, Itarsi, Harda, Barwani, Sagar, Indore, Ujjain, Guna, Gwalior, Vidisha, Raisen, Seoni and Betul.

The NSUI, the student wing of the Congress, alleged that college, district and police administrations were favouring the ABVP because “it is close to the BJP”, which is in power in the state.

The NSUI alleged that in several college administrations had rejected the nomination of their candidates, but accepted forms from ABVP-backed students even after the deadline.

“ABVP has been taken aback by defeats in student union elections in other states. This is why the entire administration and government has come out in their support,” said Vivek Tripathi, state spokesperson, NSUI.

ABVP national executive member Ankit Garg denied allegations of favouritism. “The allegations are baseless as we too faced similar problems in many colleges. In many places the professors favoured the NSUI and rejected the nominations of students from ABVP,” he said.

Hoshangabad SP, Arvind Saxena, said, “Charges of police favouring a group are wrong. We used force against all those creating trouble.”

Jabalpur SP, Shashikant Shukla, said reports of violence were exaggerated.

Higher education department additional chief secretary BR Naidu refuted allegations of administration favouring any one.

“The allegations are baseless. If they have any proof, they should file complaints and we will conduct a fair inquiry.”

First Published: Oct 29, 2017 21:40 IST