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Afghan students to return to Orissa

Bhubaneswar: 59 Afghan students, who had left Orissa for New Delhi citing security concerns, have decided to return to the State for the completion of their courses.

According to reports, the students left for Orissa by Rajdhani Express at 5: 30 am today. The State govt. is making arrangements for their stay in the state capital. Efforts are also on to provide them a bus to commute from Bhubaneswar to Cuttack.

The State Higher Education Minister Devi Prasad Mishra also confirmed that the students will return to Orissa tomorrow.

Earlier, three students were injured when a group of local students had locked the university’s main gate during a protest against alleged irregularities in their hostel. Some Afghan students, who wanted to go out, asked for the gate to be unlocked, which had led to a scuffle.

Meanwhile, the state government on Monday decided to constitute a committee to look after the foreign students in Ravenshaw University in Cuttack, official sources said.

Altogether 59 Afghan students had left Cuttack for New Delhi on January 18 citing "lack of security" after they were assaulted by some local students in the university campus during a group clash on January 13.

Stating that the Afghan students have already boarded the train in Delhi, Higher Education Minister Debi Prasad Mishra said the committee comprising the Commissioner of Police, Director of Higher Education and a member of the ICCR would look after welfare of the foreign students in the varsity.

Mishra, who had rushed to the national capital after the Afghan students went there in the middle of the academic year citing security as the reason behind their actions, said the students would first be lodged in the state capital here and be provided with bus facility to attend their classes in Ravenshaw University in Cuttack.

Commissioner of Police B K Sharma would look after security of the students, Mishra said. The Afghan students left the varsity on January 18 after two of them were injured in a campus clash.

If the students want to stay in Cuttack, government will also make adequate arrangement for their safety, Mishra said. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had earlier assured the students that their safety would be ensured.

"The students will arrive here tomorrow," Mishra said adding that extra classes would also be held as students remained absent for about a fortnight.

Mishra during his visit to Delhi had assured Afghan ambassador Nangyalai Tarzi on the security of the students.

Varsity Vice-Chancellor Debdas Chhotray said the authorities would henceforth give special attention to the foreign students.

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