“Studies can be continued later, but life can’t,” said Alisha Kikon, a student from Nagaland pursuing B.A. in Indian Academy here.
Torn between the will to stay and the frantic pleas from her parents back home, she said: “My father was in Pune and brother was in Mumbai. After having witnessed what they have, my mother will not let me stay away from home.”
In two institutions where nearly 30 per cent of the student population is from the northeast — Indian Academy and Indo Asian Academy — rumours are flying thick and fast, creating fear psychosis among the youngsters.
Licha Takar, a first year B.A. student from Arunachal Pradesh, said an SMS many of them received on Thursday said: “It will get worse after Ramzan. Leave before that.”
Though many spoke about the “bad experiences” of a friend or a relative, none had one of their own to share. One student said a friend of his was “chased by people with a knife”, while another recalled with fear “news of a student being abducted from a mall”.
Across the border
Another revelation came from members of the Buddhist Students’ Association. Wangchu, a third year B.Sc. student from Bhutan, said Bhutanese and Nepalese students are not spared due to the “similarity in physical appearances”. “We have contacted the Bhutan Embassy asking for guidance and are awaiting a response,” he added. Even as college managements, which held campus meetings with students from the northeast on Thursday, offered accommodation within their campuses for them, those living outside spoke of landlords asking them to vacate before August 20.
Zedino Seyie from Nagaland was evicted on Sunday from her Chinnappa Garden residence. Another student added that several students living in Anepalya were moving to the Tibetan Youth Hostel.
A major concern for students and colleges alike are the fast approaching semester exams. Thangjam Ravichandra Singh, a faculty member at the Indian Academy, said even if students leave, the college (affiliated to Bangalore University) is unlikely to hold bridge classes or reschedule exams for their sake.
But northeast students in Jyothi Nivas College (JNC) are luckier. K. Vanaja Malathy, public administration officer, JNC, said the college would give 10 days’ attendance to students who want to go home. “Apart from that, we will also postpone the mid-term examination.”
Several colleges initiated meetings with their students to understand their concerns. While some asked them to go home, others said there was no need to panic and that they should get back to classes.
Addressing a group of over 150 anxious students in Christ University, Vice-Chancellor Thomas Mathew said: “We are worried about your safety. But these are only rumours, don’t fall prey to them.”