After two clashes on Thursday, police and college officials look to tighten security
Senior police officers have asked the heads of eight government colleges in the city to keep a check on inter-college student rivalry, ensure that incidents do not spill over to the streets like it did on Thursday, and generally promote amicable relations through inter-collegiate cultural events.
Two incidents of student clashes turned bloody on Thursday — students of Pachaiyappa’s College and Presidency College clashed inside an MTC bus (6D) near Washermenpet in which three students and one passenger got injured; in another incident at Otteri bus stop, a Presidency College student was attacked by a group of students from Nandanam Arts College.
On Friday, eleven students from the three government colleges were arrested on charges of assault and public nuisance. Since Thursday evening, senior police officers have been talking with the heads of the colleges and student representatives on ways to prevent such incidents.
On Thursday evening, S. Thamarai Kannan, additional commissioner of police (Law and Order), asked college heads to take disciplinary action against students who indulge in such violence and also offer counselling.
The police have identified 21 sensitive bus routes in which students travel and will deploy plainclothes policemen in buses. Patrolling will be increased in spots where students gather in large numbers to go to college. “We are even ready to appoint our staff members at specific locations to help the police,” said Presidency College principal M Mohammed Ibrahim.
In the last one year, college heads have had four meetings with senior officials and six with student leaders from all government colleges, but acts of violence still continue.
Pachaiyappa’s College principal, P. Gajivaradhan, said this was the fifth instance of a violence-related complaint against his students since June. “We are identifying and issuing warnings to trouble-makers. We have also met parents of some suspended students to understand their problems.”
Prof. Mohammed Ibrahim said though instances of indiscipline in the college had come down, violence on buses continues. Four students have been dismissed for possessing weapons in Presidency College alone.
In the last six months, over 21 students have been suspended from the three government colleges “Many of the students are exploited by former students for money. Fights often break out for trivial reasons,” said Prof Ibrahim.
Police said students on the ‘6D’ route formed the predominant group in the college and were in conflict with those who travel by 27H, 29A, 12G. “After elections this year, the routes and loyalties have changed,” said R. Gowthaman, a student leader from Pachiyappa’s College.
To monitor students, police teams have been deployed at Presidency College and Pachiayappa’s College. “These colleges do not allow students to attend classes if they come after 10 a.m.; sometimes, students take to violence on their way back,” said a policeman.