Staff Reporter

BERHAMPUR: Oriya students were also attacked in Mumbai by the Raj Thackeray’s supporters of the Maharashtra Navanirman Sena (MNS).

Some of them were injured and most of them were hiding in different parts of the metro searching for an opportunity to board next train to Orissa. Gagal Panda of Dharmaraipur village near Patapur in Ganjam district was also a victim of this sectarian violence by MNS activists. Speaking to The Hindu over phone from a hospital in Bhayander in Mumbai suburbs Mr Panda said he was attacked near the examination centre for Railway Recruitment Board examinations in Bhayander area. According to him more than 300 students like him from Orissa had reached Mumbai to appear for railway recruitment test. A large number of them were from Ganjam district. According to him most of them were hiding near stations to board the next train to Orissa. “I had never expected to face this rude shock in Mumbai which is considered utopia by most Indians. I was beaten up even though I shouted in Oriya, English and Hindi that I was not from north India, I was from Orissa,” he said. “It seemed these hooligans had little knowledge about geography of India to understand me,” he said.

A Mumbai-based Oriya organisation Rashtriya Oriya Yuvak Pratisthan (ROYP) has come to the rescue of these panicked Oriya students. They arranged for the treatment of the injured students like Mr Panda. Speaking over phone president of the ROYP Srikant Padhi said they were now making arrangements to coordinate safe return journey of Oriya students, who had come to Mumbai to appear for the railway recruitment test. They have placed their members in all railway stations in Mumbai to help out these panicked students from Orissa.