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Cops, colleges roll up sleeves to make students shun violence
There are not more than 40 students who create such nuisance. But, the disturbance they create is so much that people start believing that all college students are like them, say the city police
On June 18, after the summer vacations, a number of arts and science colleges in the city reopened to minor clashes between students from different institutions.
The incidents were anticipated by the police and they acted swiftly and detained the students and seized 11 machetes, an axe and a knife in Flower Bazaar and on Kamarajar Salai.
No one was hurt in the incident unlike last October when about 60 students of Pachaiyappa’s College were suspended for carrying lethal weapons on train.
Those who were detained with their weapons in Flower Bazaar are former students while those detained on Kamarajar Salai told the police that their seniors asked them to keep the weapons.
Inquiries with police officials, college authorities and some of the students revealed that it is the graduates who
encouraged the fresh batch of students to take up arms to “defend themselves”.
One of the students of Presidency College, who was detained on suspicion and let off after inquiry, told DT Next that it was his first day of the college and he did not know what was happening.
“The bus (6D) was so crowded; the bags and notebooks were dumped on me while I was seated. When the police stopped the bus on Kamarajar Salai and checked the bags, I was shocked to see weapons in one of them,” the firstyear Zoology student said.
“The police took us in for inquiry and called our parents to the station. Only after my parents told police that I had just joined college and did not know anything about weapons did they let me off, “ he added.
Interestingly, the student’s problems did not end there. After his parents complained that he does not listen to them to even get a haircut, the police personnel took all the students to a nearby salon and forced them to cut their hair.
Meanwhile, two masters degree students of Pachaiyappa’s College said that despite the institution faring well academically, others perceive the college negatively because of the activities of a group of students. Explaining the obsession over bus routes, C Manigandan, a Master’s student, said, “For example, the 41D route crosses both Pachaiyappa’s as well as Nandanam. Students of C Kandasamy Naidu College and DG Vaishnav College also take the same route. So, carrying weapons begin in the name of defending themselves against students of other colleges.”
He added, “They think that wielding power over other students is the only way to avoid trouble but what happens is exactly the opposite of it. A group of students automatically become Route Thala. They unnecessarily get into trouble because of it. They also keep junior students with them and train them to follow their footsteps. This happens routinely every year.”
The student, however, added that there are students who travel in the same route without indulging in any such activities. P Silambarasan, another masters degree student from the college said that the college authorities try their best to keep students off such things.
“Late comers and those without ID card are not allowed inside the campus. Also, gathering of students in the playground is monitored. The entire campus is under CCTV surveillance. So, the students can’t do anything inside the campus, but at the same time, the authorities don’t have control over what takes place outside the campus. If they always have to keep an eye on the students, then how will they conduct classes?” Silambarasan said.
Joint Commissioner (East) TS Anbu police department has decided to end this menace and counsel college students.
“There are not more than 40 students across different colleges in the city who create such nuisance. But, the noise and disturbance they create is so much that people start believing that all college students are like them,” said Anbu. He said the Commissioner is keen on finding a solution for this. “We have decided to begin with general counselling for students across all city colleges.
If the gullible students are made to realise that they are in college to study and prepare for a career ahead, they will not fall for their seniors’ words and the cycle of former college students recruiting new ones into this routine will come to an end,” said the Joint Commissioner. He added that if some students need special attention, they would be segregated and addressed individually.
“A few NGOs have come forward to conduct counselling sessions to students and colleges too have agreed it to it. The initiative will take shape soon. Currently, colleges have appointed supervisors at the department level to check if students are misguided,” Anbu said.
“Only those who have arrears want to hang around the college and mislead the present students to indulge in unlawful activities. If they seek help, we can do something about it, otherwise police will have to deal with them legally,” he added.
Pachaiyappa’s College Principal N Shettu told this newspaper that he held a meeting with students’ parents ahead before the college reopened to discuss this matter. Shettu added that the faculty members have also extended their maximum cooperation to address such student-related issues.
“There are so many co-curricular and extracurricular activities such as NCC in all three wings, NSS, Red Cross and other sports activities. Our college provides a lot of facilities and a platform for the students to make something of their lives. But, it’s up to them how they make use of these opportunities,” he said.