BHUBANESWAR: Armed miscreants barged into Central Canteen of Utkal University and brutally attacked two hostel boarders on Saturday __ second such attack within 12 hours __ triggering angry reactions from the students who blocked NH 5 for over two hours braving heavy showers.
The two PG students, Mahesh Prasad (History) and Ashok Nayak (Library Sciences), both in first year, sustained grievous injuries in the attack. Mahesh’s fingers were partially severed. The two are admitted to a private hospital here and under observation.
Within half an hour of the attack, students laid siege to the National Highway. The agitation threw vehicular traffic off gear for over two hours in the evening.
Alleging that police have gone soft on anti-social elements who are frequently creating disturbance on the varsity campus, the students burnt tyres and blocked the roads paralysing traffic movement.
They demanded that the culprits must be arrested at the earliest. Although Bhubaneswar DCP Satyabrata Bhoi rushed to the spot and tried to bring the situation under control, the students did not relent.
The attack came within 12 hours of a clash that had taken place on the university campus. Late on Friday, a group of bike-borne miscreants had assaulted four students near Madhusudan Hostel. The students had also chased them back leading to a clash.
Following the late night incident, Commissionerate Police had deployed forces on the UU campus to prevent any deterioration in the situation but a fresh group of outsiders managed to give police the slip and attacked the students on Saturday afternoon.
“Six miscreants, armed with sword and machetes, came on two motorcycles, attacked Mahesh and Ashok near the canteen and fled from the spot. Even as police personnel were deployed at several places on the campus, they managed to escape,” Soumyajit Sinha, a student leader, said.
The students said the assailants were associates of a fitness centre owner, Bapi Nayak, who has allegedly incited violence on the university campus on many occasions earlier, including the attack on four hostel inmates on Friday night. Bapi was arrested by the police two weeks back and is currently in jail.
“The intention of the miscreants was to avenge Bapi’s arrest against whom we had lodged a complaint at Saheed Nagar police station,” UU students union president Rajesh Raj Swain said.
Students who continued their agitation braving heavy showersrelented only after police assured them that it will arrest the miscreants within 24 hours.
Meanwhile, heavy police bandobast has been made on the varsity campus to prevent any escalation in the situation.