Allahabad University has been closed till Monday after large-scale student violence and arson erupted on Thursday, leaving over two dozen persons injured, besides huge loss of public and private property. Conceding students' demand, the administration on Friday allowed them to stay in hostels until after the summer vacation is over.
Uttar Pradesh Inspector-General (Law and Order) Badri Prasad Singh told journalists here that patrolling by police, Provincial Armed Constabulary and Rapid Action Force personnel was intensified on the campus and in the adjoining areas following Thursday night's violence. A first information report was lodged against about 500 unnamed students, but no arrests were made, Mr. Singh said, adding the situation was under control.
The violence was the fallout of a faceoff over Vice-Chancellor A.K. Singh's circular asking students to vacate hostels at the end of the 2011-12 academic session. The students protested against the move and the situation turned volatile when the police used force to disperse a dharna by 1,000 of them, including girls, at the university guest house, where the Vice-Chancellor had been held hostage for about 30 hours since Wednesday. His office is situated in the guest house.
It was at around 7.30 p.m. on Thursday that the students went on the rampage and resorted to heavy stone throwing on the police force, after the Vice-Chancellor was rescued and whisked away in a car. They torched the guest house, four vehicles belonging to teachers, a roadways corporation bus and the official car of the Additional District Magistrate. The police resorted to lathi charge and burst teargas shells to disperse the students. The mayhem continued till late in the night.
Tension had been brewing on the campus for the past one week. The students demanded that they be allowed to stay in the hostels as many of them were preparing for competitive examinations. The university authorities, however, refused to back off. The decision was reversed only on Friday.