Sharmili Mallick

Balasore: Braving the winter chill, hundreds of integrated B.Ed and M.Ed students of Fakir Mohan University staged a night-long dharna outside Balasore Collectorate on Tuesday demanding revocation of State Government's decision to bar them from appearing in Odisha Teacher Eligibility Test (OTET).

Earlier on November 5, the students had taken out a rally from Balasore to Loka Seva Bhawan in Bhubaneswar to press for their demands but were stopped by the police midway. Later, they withdrew their stir after the District Collector intervened and asked them to wait for three days so that a concrete decision could be taken in this regard.

As the Collector allegedly failed to resolve their issues within the time, the students decided to stage a sit-in outside the Collectorate last night.

"After waiting for three days when we contacted the Collector for a meeting, he ignored us and kept on delaying which led to the resentment," alleged an agitating B.Ed student, Shrabani Behera.

Though the Sub-Collector held a discussion with the students, they refused to buzz off saying protests will continue until their demands are met. The Collector or Sub-Collector could not be contacted over the matter.

It may be noted that the students of integrated B.Ed and M.Ed course took out a rally from North Odisha University in Baripada to Bhubaneswar yesterday demanding permission to appear in the teachers' entrance examination. Two members of the agitating group were reportedly taken ill during the rally and admitted to hospital for treatment.