Citizens,police sweat over unruly foreign students

On Monday,two Iranian students,Nariman Fathohi (27) and Hamidreza Mohammed Reza Khaksa (29),living in Kondhwa,were driving a car at high speed on the wrong side at Brahma Avenue.

Written by Chandan Haygunde | Pune | Published:February 22, 2009 12:36 am

On Monday,two Iranian students,Nariman Fathohi (27) and Hamidreza Mohammed Reza Khaksa (29),living in Kondhwa,were driving a car at high speed on the wrong side at Brahma Avenue. When Ajit Thorat,a resident of the society asked them to drive slowly,the duo thrashed him. Thorat suffered a fracture and a head injury. Residents say this was the fourth such incident in the recent times.

On Wednesday,traffic constable Navnath Shinde stopped a Bahraini student,Mustafa Billo,at the Golibar maidan chowk for taking his motorbike on the wrong side of the road. Mustafa,a resident of Kondhwa,did not have a driving licence. Yet,he refused to hand over the keys of the bike to the constable and started arguing.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone IV) Jalinder Supekar says he would be initiating a survey of the areas where foreign students are said to be creating problems. “We have already identified a few spots where foreign students gather at night. Patrolling has been increased there. Trouble-makers will be punished.”

This is a new trend in Pune. Some foreign students,with their unruly behaviour are giving students from abroad who flock to the city for higher education,a bad name.

There have been instances of some students from abroad indulging in fights,drag racing and arguments with the law-enforcers. This comes even as police try to grapple with the problem of many foreign students overstaying their visa.

Residents of upmarket areas like Koregaon Park,NIBM,Kondhwa and some areas close to Chandni Chowk,like Paud Road,are also complaining.

They say the police are not acting tough on some foreign students who get into fights among themselves or with the local residents and even the police.

The police say that while some housing societies have banned foreign students from occupying their premises,there are pockets where they are welcome,because they pay more rent. Their purchasing power is also the reason why many restaurants and pubs keep their doors open for them late into the night.

However,with Pune becoming a hub for terror outfit members,what has become a concern for the city police is the increasing number of foreigners getting involved in forgery rackets and narcotics trade,not to mention illegal overstay without valid visas. Post 26/11,Pune police deported more than 250 foreigners overstaying illegally; they’re in the process of deporting more.

Police inspector Bhanupratap Barge said most foreign students under watch were from Iran and Sudan. “Pune has been attracting foreign students. But many students have overstayed after the expiry of their visa,” Barge said. “We would soon hold discussions with housing society members to tackle this attitude of some foreign students,” said police Inspector S S Gaikar of Kondhwa.

But seeing no visible result at the ground level,the likes of Murlidhar Mohol,the city unit president of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha,feel it’s time to get into action.

“We have received complaints. As the police are unable to solve the problem,we may be forced to do it ourselves,” he said.

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