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Afgan students likely to return

Cuttack: Barring two, all the Afghan students who left for New Delhi on January 18 discontinuing their studies midway in Ravenshaw University here, are likely to return here on Monday to complete their ongoing courses in the varsity.

At least 59 Afghan students had vacated the city citing `lack of security` after they were assaulted by some local students inside the university campus during a group clash on January 13.

"After a series of meetings with Orissa government officials and ICCR authorities in presence of our Ambassador here Mr Nangyalai Tarzi for the past three days, we have decided to come back to Cuttack for continuation of our studies," Abdullah Khodadad, a 25-year-old student from north Afghanistan who was doing MA in journalism here, said.

At least 78 foreign students, 69 of them from Afghanistan, were studying in Cuttack under culture exchange programme of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).

Only two students, who received injuries during the clash, were reluctant to come back. "We are trying to convince them to return to Cuttack after a brief holiday in Afghanistan," Abdullah said over phone from New Delhi.

The Afghan students are likely to arrive in the city on Monday, he said. After the foreign students left the city, state Higher Education Minister Debi Prasad Mishra went to New Delhi and promished to provide security to them.
He also assured the students that the University would take special coaching classes and conduct supplementary examinations for them to clear the papers which they missed during last week?s turmoil.

Reacting to the news that the foreign students are coming back, the University vice chancellor Devdas Chhotray expressed his happiness and assured that adequate steps would be taken to solve their problems.

"I am happy that they have decided to come back. I welcome them once again and as soon as they arrive here we would hold discussions with them and try to solve their problems," Chhotray said.

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