REPORTEDLY, more than 50 students and teachers of Jagannath University were injured in police firing of rubber bullets while they were agitating to recover halls belonging to the university from the clutches of illegal occupants. The treatment of the students by the police was deplorable. The students for their part, however, shouldn't have occupied the street causing considerable public inconvenience. That too is unacceptable.
We wonder whether the students were armed with lethal weapons and whether they had posed serious danger to the police or to the public and property in that area so as to necessitate such an onslaught on them. We understand from the report that it was the police who had resorted to firing teargas and rubber bullets to disperse the agitating students. The police must come round to realising that bullet is the last resort only to be employed in the most exceptional situation. It seems the police have forgotten other ways of crowd dispersal that are less harmful to the public.
As for the demands of the students, they had been demanding the release of the many students' hostels that are under illegal occupation mostly by the ruling party cadres, and a few of them were also under the occupation of government agencies. Given the dire strait of accommodation facilities of the JnU students it is the government which should have been proactive and recovered these hostels without the students having to agitate for it. And the students should well remember that violence does not beget the expected result.