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Ramakanta Biswas

Sambalpur: Tension ran high on the premises of Sambalpur University on Tuesday after a large number of students protesting the decision of the authorities to conduct offline examination allegedly resorted to violence and ransacked property inside the varsity.

According to sources, Plus III students of the varsity and other colleges affiliated to it were protesting inside the campus opposing conduct of third semester examination on offline mode amid the fresh threat of novel-Coronavirus wave.

Police lathi charged the protesting students when they entered the office of the Vice-Chancellor. Heavy deployment of police forces was seen on the campus to thwart any untoward incident.

“Students of all colleges of western Odisha affiliated to Sambalpur University assembled today. Our classes were conducted via online mode for Plus III third semester, but the university authorities want us to appear for the examination through offline mode,” said a student.

“Appearing for offline examination is not possible, given the grim situation of Covid-19 pandemic. Who will guarantee that the students will not contract the virus while coming from far-off places and appearing in the examination,” the protesting student questioned.

Earlier, the varsity authorities had issued time schedule for the examination to be conducted from April 19. However, yesterday the authorities revised the schedule and decided to hold the examination from April 27.

“We demand online conduct of the examination due to coronavirus. We had come to take up the issue with the VC peacefully, but we were not allowed to meet him. While trying to enter his chamber, some furniture got broken. Irate over the development, the VC and the administration asked the police to baton charge on us,”

Speaking on the issue, the VC Sanjeev Mittal said, “The protesting students damaged furniture, main gate, reception, cooler and sanitiser machine. The property destroyed during the incident could cost between Rs 2 and 2.5 lakh. They did not submit any memorandum, but a letter stating that they belong to National Students Union of India and demanded online mode of Plus III third semester examination.”

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)

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