PALAKKAD: It is a tale of woe for 400-odd students from Kerala who are studying in a private engineering college near Salem. On Friday, the students were beaten up by outsiders in the college hostel, injuring 30 of them.
There was a great deal of linguistic discrimination by the management of the college. There were discrepancies in fees, and communications from� homes were not passed on to the students.
“On Friday evening we had protested against the warden of the hostel. Instead of amicably resolving the issue, some toughies were brought in. They hit us with computer cables, sticks and chains“, says Ranjith (name changed), a first-year student of the college.
After the incident, around 250 first-year students went to the Palakkad District Hospital on Saturday night. But as no complaint was registered, the hospital authorities were unwilling to admit them. The students fear dismissal from the college if they register complaints.
“The minimum fine slapped on the students for a misdemeanor has been `25,000. Most of the times, therefore, the students keep mum to the injustices meted out to them”, said Afzal (name changed),another student. The parents of the injured students took home the students from the hospital. Except for 150-odd final-semester students, all the students from Kerala have left the hostel.
Palakkad South Police, who recorded the statements, said that the students were unwilling to disclose the names of their assailants.
“Nobody is willing to disclose their names. Therefore no cases has been registered. They fear reprisal by the management”, said senior police officer K Suresh Kumar.
Later, the hostel was closed down and the first-year students were taken in the college bus and dropped at Erode railway station and the second-year students at the Salem railway station.
The practical examinations are to be held on Monday. But the students fear that the management may prevent them from taking it. The management continues to term the incidents at the college as a case of ragging by the students. Instead of taking action against the guilty, it had suspended 80 students from Kerala.
In the afternoon, the students submitted a memorandum to Opposition Leader V S Achuthanandan at the PWD resthouse were he had promised to raise the issue in the Assembly and put pressure on the UDF Government to take up the issue with its counterpart in Tamil Nadu.