Patna,(BiharTimes): Local citizens of Patna are sceptical over the Patna University authorities’ decision to initiate action against those engaged in forcible collection of subscriptions for the Saraswati Puja celebration.
They are of the view that it is virtually impossible to check the extortion of money, which is made outside the campus. In fact it is upto the district administration and Patna Police to check rowdyism and goondagardi on the streets be it during Saraswati Puja or any other Puja or Muharram procession.
On its part the PU authorities have decided to crack down on all those students and illegal occupants of the hostels engaged in the extortion and forcible collection of money during Saraswati Puja which is on January 28 next.
According to Kriteshwar Prasad, proctor, Patna University, there would be no forcible collection of subscription this year. Hostel superintendents would keep a tab on the students’ activities. The hostel superintendents would fix a certain amount which students would pay as puja subscription. They will not be allowed to collect money from shops or commuters.
The moot question the citizens ask is how much the University authorities would succeed in their objective when the students and illegal boarders openly collect money from shopkeepers, coaching institutes, commuters and auto and bus drivers. Such acts often lead to clashes between the local people and students.
What utmost the Patna University can do is that it can check the collection of money from students in the hostels situated on the campus or Saidpur Hostel outside it, but what about the students of other hostels and lodges involved in this act. Students of Patel Chatrawas, who were involved in the beating up of a teacher of a private coaching in states recently, are known for their strong arm tactic.
Apparently the Patna University move came after Dilip Kumar, a postgraduate student and an illegal boarder of Saidpur Hostel Number-2, was murdered on December 27 after a booze party.
Saraswati Puja in Patna is organized at much larger scale than other towns of Bihar as it is home to thousands of students from all over the state.
The PU can utmost check the intra-students clash in the name of Saraswati Puja. But the amount collected from the fellow students for Puja is negligible when compared to those raised from outside, where the organizers use all the muscle powers.
One of the coaching institute owners said that the problem is not that they collect money. “We are willing to pay whatever we can, but the problem is that they force us to pay huge amount. Besides, there are innumerable organizers all over. We would not be able to pay all of them,” he added.
Besides extortion of money, students indulge in naked display of street power during immersion procession, which often leads to clashes almost every year. About 15 years back a telephone booth owner died in one such incident. They openly indulge in boozing and fire with their illegal weapons in the air. All these acts take place in front of police.
Of late, boozing has become a menace with students even indulging in molesting and passing lewd remarks against girls or young women.
Even during the Muharram procession recently rowdy elements openly danced on the streets and at places even indulged in boozing. There was no one to check them around.
A senior Patna College teacher was recently quoted in a newspaper as saying: “It is well-known that boarders spend the money to organise booze parties.”
Last year a student had died after falling off the first floor of Minto Hostel, after such a booze party.
Though this year the PU has decided to check all these illegal activities on the campus, teachers question the very resources and capability of the University to put a brake on them. Those who indulge in these acts have powerful connections outside the campus too.