Kochi: Tense situation prevailed at the campus of the Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) here all along the intervening night of Thursday and Friday after two groups of students clashed against each other as police was forced to resort to lathicharge to bring the situation under control. A total of 11 persons, including five police personnel, were injured in the incident for which Kalamassery police arrested 25 students belonging to the Students Federation of India (SFI) and ‘Malabari’ factions.
“We’ve arrested 25 students who were produced before a magistrate and were remanded. Cases with charges including Unlawful Assembly (sec 141) IPC), Assaulting or Obstructing public servant (Sec 152 IPC) and voluntarily causing Assault (Sec 324 IPC) were registered against them. Further probe is on,” police said.
According to sources, the rival factions clashed over conduct of Vipanchika, the annual college fest conducted by the School of Engineering, CUSAT. An argument over the issue resulted in a group of students destroying the SFI unit office in the campus. Later, SFI members forcefully entered the boys’ hostels and attacked students there around 11.30 pm. Police arrived at the scene and tried to bring the situation under control, however, the students attacked them, throwing beer bottles and stones. The personnel soon resorted to lathicharge after five including Kalamassery Sub Inspector Prasanth Client were injured.
Meanwhile, CUSAT authorities instituted a preliminary probe by a two-member panel consisting of Dr M.R. Radhakrishna Panicker, principal, school of Engineering, and Dr Prathapan S., associate prof. dept of Applied Chemistry. “Based on the panel report, a detailed inquiry will be held and strict action will be taken against the guilty. The report will be submitted on Monday. We suspect a deliberate attempt to instigate violence at a time when applications for various courses have been invited,” said a CUSAT official.
“The violence broke out after our office was damaged by the Malabari faction. However, cops arrested 15 of our members, most of them who have no connection with the incident,” said SFI unit secretary Sajad Chemmukkan. The rival faction alleged that the SFI members used to harass students from northern parts of the state and the attack against its members were part of that.