Letter From REC, Rourkela Students
This news appeared on India-News (Prof. K.V. Rao's e-mail news service on Friday 18th Sep. Friday)
#1. Engineering student killed in Rourkela police firing Rourkela: A student of the Regional Engineering College here was killed and 14 others were injured when police opened fire inside the college campus to disperse a group of irate students on Thursday night. District Collector Vijay Arora on Friday said third year mechanical engineering student G R Sujit was killed on the spot, after lathi charge and bursting of tear gas shells failed to disperse the students who went on the rampage within the REC principal A K Mohanty's residence. The students were demanding that the principal lodge a complaint against the Ispat General Hospital authorities where one of their colleagues died on Thursday morning allegedly due to negligence in treatment. The Orissa government ordered a judicial inquiry into the firing, to be conducted by a district judge with the concurrence of the Orissa High Court, Home Secretary S C Hota said in Bhubaneswar. The government also sanctioned a compensation of Rs 50,000 to the next of kin of Sujit, Hota said. The REC authorities declared the college closed and the hostels were vacated. Trouble started after third year electrical engineering student Sugat Malla, admitted to the hospital along with another student, died of cerebral malaria, the doctors said. The students, however, alleged that he died of negligence and smashed door and window panes. They also alleged that the other student was discharged after the incident. The police was called in to restore order and three of the students were arrested. The three students were later released on bail following the intervention of the REC principal but a large number of students gheraoed his residence later in the evening asking him to lodge a complaint with the IGH authorities for their "negligence" which led to the death of the student. When some of the students smashed some electric fittings of his residence, the principal informed the police and a contingent of armed police were dispatched into the campus. The students, who subsequently set fire to the dispensary within the campus and smashed street lights, came out to face the police and resorted to heavy brickbatting, the police said. Two officers and three constables were injured in the brickbatting, Collector Arora said, adding the police lathicharged and burst tear gas shells to disperse the unruly gathering but in vain. The police then opened fire in which one of the students were killed, he said. However, he said, the injuries to 14 others were not caused by firing. Those students were injured when they tried to escape by scaling walls. The body of Sujit was sent for post-mortem later and preserved in the IGH morgue. His parents, who stay outside the State, had been informed, the Collector said. The situation in the REC campus and its neighbourhood was described as peaceful.
Last Updated: 4 Oct 1998