Tension due to SFI-Campus Front clash

A tense situation prevailed on college campuses in the city with the political rivalry between the Students Federation of India (SFI) and the Campus Front spiralling out of control and fuelling street violence characterised by tit-for-tat attacks involving the use of swords and crude bombs.

The smouldering hostility between the two organisations touched a new zenith on Thursday night when an eight-member gang of masked men stormed the University Student’s Centre and hacked several SFI activists who were spending the night there.

One of them was seriously injured in the attack. The police said the assault was in retaliation for the alleged kidnapping and torture of a Campus Front activist inside the SFI-dominated University College campus.

Investigators said the SFI men had tortured Rafi for attempting to start a unit of the Campus Front, along with a few students of Islamic History Department.

The police said the conspiracy to attack SFI activists at the Student’s Centre, considered a strong hold of the organisation, was hatched at Rafi’s hospital bed at General Hospital, where he was admitted initially.

Investigators said cadres of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) could be involved in the attack. They could have contracted hit teams owing allegiance to them to carry out the operation. Two such squads, one based in Mangalapuram and the other near Kattakada, were under police scrutiny in connection with the crime.

On Friday, persons suspected to be SFI activists hurled a petrol bomb in front of the Campus Front office in the city. The miscreants also damaged the windowpanes of the office. Officials said the police were bracing to tackle violence, which could erupt when colleges open on Monday.

They said they would search college campuses and hostels for crude explosives and sharp-edged weapons.