Saswat Singhdeo

Bhubaneswar: Students of Rama Devi Women's University staged protest today against cancellation of student union polls in universities and degree colleges across the state.

As per reports, ABVP members today locked up the university gate protesting the State government's decision and also burnt posters of Higher Education Department Minister Arun Sahoo. As the situation worsened, a team of cops reached the spot and brought the situation under control. The cops also opened the main gate of the university.

"Election is not the matter, but the actual issue is our democratic rights. We can choose our candidates by voting and why we are asked to vote indirectly," said an agitating student.

During the protests, a ruckus broke out after another group of students supporting cancellation of student polls entered into an argument with the protesting students.

"We wanted the lock of the university to be re-opened. The ruckus was created by some outsiders who intentionally did it," said another student.

Earlier on Friday, ABVP members had gheraoed the residence of Higher Education Minister Arun Sahoo protesting cancellation of student union elections, following which a scuffle broke out between the police and agitators. The members of ABVP alleged that it is a planned strategy of the Odisha government to stifle the voice of the students.

Odisha government on August 22 had decided to cancel the student union election in universities and degree colleges this year.

As per a notice issued to all vice-chancellors of all state universities and principals of all government degree and aided colleges, the Higher Education Department clarified that, ‘An Alternative procedure for nominating students’ representatives to various bodies of universities and colleges, where students’ representation is required, shall be prescribed subsequently.”