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The Riots At KIIT Bhubaneswar Could’ve Been Avoided If Students Acted Like Rational Adults

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I am a student at KIIT University. I am going to stay away from disclosing my branch as that may make people feel judgmental that my account is inclined towards that one branch and dissuade them from accepting neutrality and the truth.

On the evening of November 23, 2018 around 6:30 p.m., a final year law student was commented upon by a second year mechanical engineering student. There are over two to three versions of the comments made by the boy. While the girl said it was “Leja leja,” (take her, take her) some people said it was “Achcha le jaa raha hai to achchi jagah le jaana” (If you are taking her, might as well take her to a good place).

The engineering student’s version was that the comment was made to one of his friends who was standing near the law student. But, due to threats and the violence that broke out, the girl has refrained from talking about the incident.

After a short verbal spat that ensued between them, the B.Tech student went inside his hostel. Demands were made for him to be called down. The hostel warden told the students that he is not in the hostel but people had seen him go in. After three hours of hue and cry, senior authorities came down to the scene and the police also arrived. Some students from the law school, went to the B.Tech hostel, accompanied by policewomen and members of the administration. The accused was called down and made to apologise. The law students, at this point, shouted statements like, “Bahut dheere bole ho, kisi ko sunai diya?” (You spoke too low, did anyone else hear what he said?) and the crowd cheered, “Nahiii” (Noooo), after which the accused was made to apologise three to four times.

The next day on November 24, around 3:00 p.m., a brawl took place and stone pelting started. The whole story escalated to a different level of brutality as both parties became violent. The brawl ended up becoming a ‘Engineering Vs. Law’ clash.

What I feel may have acted as a trigger was that the engineering students could not accept the fact that a girl from a different course could enter their hostel and demand an apology. The actual clash was between egos. A video, which showed the law students protesting in the engineering hostel, was circulated among students fuelling the students’ anger even further.

On the same day, a B.Tech student entered the law campus. The law students caught hold of him and kept him locked in a room (the rumour of whose death caused havoc). Following this, many more students from the engineering department also entered the law campus and violence followed.

There were videos of students being beaten up in the lift doing rounds, especially, one video of engineering students thrashing law students because their friend who was kept locked in the law campus had not been released.
Both sides made efforts to put their side of the story out in the open. The engineering students explained their point of view in this video.

Both parties were in a state of anger and there were severe injuries sustained.

The university authorities confined all those who had sustained severe injuries in a guest house and took their mobiles to ensure that their pictures with injuries do not circulate. In doing so, they also sought to ensure that both the groups do not get instigated any further.

But, this act of the university backfired. Due to lack of contact of the person who was still in the law campus, the engineering students presumed him to be dead and the unprecedented heavy police force in the university fanned the air of their suspicion.

There was even news circulating till about 1:00 am that morning, that the engineering students were coming to ‘take revenge’ for the death of their friend. Fortunately, they were confined by Rapid Action Force and State Police Reserve Force.

Later on, at 3:00 am in the morning, both the law and engineering hostels were vacated with brute force and the students were dropped at the railway station, bus stand and the airport. Many students had nowhere to go that late at night, and thus, they were left stranded. Ironically, at this time, both law students and engineering students were in the same boat.

This action of the university is receiving heavy backlash from the guardians of students. Though now, most students have reached their homes and the few who live far away are still travelling, but are safe.

Section 144 and sine die were imposed in the university.

I believe that the whole incident could have been avoided if the students did not act as a mob, but as reasonable individuals. It was the duty of the authorities to check the status of hostels and restrict students from gathering inside the hostel, given the already tense situation, but they didn’t do so.

Earlier today, I also learned that both hostels were actually evacuated because KIIT is hosting the Hockey World Cup, and apparently cannot afford to divide the security that is to be provided for the sporting event. The violent students and their security was an added burden for the university.

It is disturbing to see how students can become so violent with other fellow students. There is a lot that needs to be paid attention to, for instance, the CCTV footage must be checked to find out who was the first person to start throwing stones!

When I look at it objectively, I can say that, both sides, i.e. engineering and law had some within them who wanted the brawl to continue and that’s why they were spreading rumours of acid attacks and death, while propagating other nuisances.

While some were doing it out of latent frustration, some were continuing just for the fun of it. Both sides had some miscreants who wanted to take revenge and that caused extensive damage. Though, I can say with confidence, there were more students who wanted peace than ones who wanted to create trouble.

As a student fraternity, we must learn a lesson from this and refrain from being part of a mob. Once we become part of it, mob mentality gets the better of us and we cease to think as rational human beings. The collective consciousness overpowers our individual, sensible thought processes.

Imagine, what became of a major ego clash!

What cannot be ignored is how the aggravated use of social media spread hate, created confusion and chaos and wreaked havoc. Fake news, rumours and threats exaggerated the entire event and made the situation worse.

Thankfully, there is no news of any more violence. Though the matter has cooled down, now everyone is covering up what actually happened. The students who were involved in the main incident are not speaking up, afraid of threats becoming reality.

I, for one, believe there was miscommunication at best and the rumors fuelled it further.

Note: We contacted KIIT for a comment on the above realities and have received no response. This post will be updated once we receive a response.

Image source: The RRS/Twitter.
You must be to comment.
  1. Niladri Mal

    Your article is so biased that you actually revealed your branch.

  2. ASHIS BANERHEE

    KIIT authorities should be more responsible. We the guardians are so much afraid. All the guardians are thinking that where we admit our child? Authorities are completely indifferent. After the incident of 1st day if authority took administrative step such violence would not happened . Now we the guardians think what to do because still authorities are completely indifferent regarding this violent clash. They should declare what’s there administrative measure to secure the boarders student as well as all students in future. Also we expect that the administrative authority will assure all guardians and students that in future this type of incident will not come back and they will take complete security measures for all students. Hope that authorities will be serious and more alerting future.

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