September 23, 2018

Flying exam desks, crouching cops

Bettiah: Flying desks, broken chairs, smashed CCTV cameras, burning tyres, damaged vehicles, injured policemen, terrified shopkeepers downing shutters – Raxaul, the East Champaran district town around 204km north of Patna, resembled a war zone on Monday after students went on rampage protesting what they said were “out of syllabus” questions in the matriculation exam.

Hundreds of students spilled onto the streets and attacked a police station, damaged vehicles and disrupted traffic in different parts of the town bordering Nepal. Three police personnel, including a sub-inspector, sustained injuries as the students fought pitched battles with the men in uniform.

Similar protests also erupted in Buxar.

According to Raxaul police station officer-in-charge Ugranath Jha, as many as 131 troublemakers were arrested.

“They have been booked under various sections dealing with arson and rioting among others,” said Jha.

The first examination, of Hindi, could not be held at the Rajaram Saha College, the epicentre of the protests.

“Of a total of 631 students, 539 students wrote their second sitting examination at Rajaram Saha College,” said Raxaul sub-divisional magistrate Shri Prakash.

The trouble started at Rajaram Saha College at around 9:15am when a group of students walked out of the examination hall in protest against some “out of syllabus” questions. They were joined by other students who went on rampage, bringing the first examinations, of Hindi, to a grinding halt.

Police remained spectators as students caused extensive damage to college property, breaking benches, throwing desks down floors, smashing CCTV cameras, said sources quoting eyewitnesses.

Around 10:10 am, the troublemakers attacked the local police station and fought tooth and nail with the cops for about 15 minutes, pelting stones and damaging 16 private and public vehicles – including that of the Raxaul deputy superintendent of police – parked on the police station premises.

Finding the situation spinning out of control, police lathicharged the mob, chased away the troublemakers and arrested some of them.

Later, the protesters regrouped and disrupted traffic on National Highway (28 A) – that leads to Nepal – by burning the tyres at Koiriya Tola Chowk.

They also attempted to set a oil tanker on fire. However, the police’s timely intervention salvaged the situation.

Sensing trouble, shopkeepers downed shutters in the main commercial area of the town.

The troublemakers made an abortive bid to disrupt the examination at Hazarimal School. However, police camping at the centre ensured the mobs did not succeed.

Normality returned at around 1 pm only after an intensified police patrolling rounded up 131 troublemakers from different parts of the town and sent them to Motihari jail.

In Buxar, around 128km west of Patna, more than 1,000 students blocked the railway crossing at Itarhi by burning tyres. The agitating students also pelted stones on government establishments and shops and set fire to vehicles. The agitation continued for more than four hours and they also laid siege on the Buxar railway station.

Buxar district magistrate Arvind Kumar Verma, superintendent of police Rakesh Kumar and sub-divisional officer Gautam Kumar tried to pacify the agitating students. The police finally had to lathicharge the students.

Students said the mathematics paper held on Saturday had out of syllabus questions, but Bihar School Examination Board chairmain Anand Kishor said: “Experts had checked the question paper and it was found that it was not out of syllabus.”

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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