Deterrence Must to Rein in Student Violence - The New Indian Express

Deterrence Must to Rein in Student Violence

Published: 08th March 2014 06:00 AM

Last Updated: 08th March 2014 01:52 AM

Two days ago, Chennai was rocked by three clashes onboard buses, which left a few commuters and crew members injured and some buses damaged. Prior to that, Chennai witnessed five such incidents since December, each inconveniencing the common man. But if the incidents do not add up to brand Chennai a violent or unsafe city, it is only because they were college students’ clashes. The metropolis—known as a haven for higher learning—is slowly earning a reputation for student violence. Skirmishes that were once confined to sprawling campuses have taken a violent contour lately, as it happened a few years ago at a law college. Now, the differences and acrimony are spilling over to the streets and buses.

It is a different matter that many students using public transport to college show a penchant for boisterous behaviour, breaking into violence at the first suggestion of restraint, as it happened on January 27 with a group celebrating “bus day”. It turned violent when it was prevented from clambering on to the roof of the moving bus to cut a cake, as part of the celebrations. But the choice of the public space to settle scores among themselves is unsettling. It does not appear that street bouts are happening due to the respect students have for the faculty, nor is it due to fear of action from the management.

The main reason for recurrence of violence in Chennai is a clear lack of deterrence. Though police pick up students, not all cases are pursued to their logical end. An obvious reason is a reluctance to wreck a young life, career-wise, others being intervention of powerful politicians and a lethargic police force. But at least two questions need to be asked before it is late: Should we allow students indulging in violence to go scot-free when we know that they are the future rulers of India? Should not teachers and college managements take responsibility for the behaviour of their students?

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