Students of Ghani Khan Choudhury Institute of Engineering & Technology (GKCIET) in Malda, who have been on a hunger strike for the past 19 days demanding affiliation for the college, Monday held a road blockade for over five hours as a sign of protest.
“The authorities need to be woken up from their slumber and that is why we put up this road blockade today,” said Sahin Zahedi, a first-year diploma student, who had joined the institute in 2013 for a two-year certificate course in Mechanical Engineering.
The institute, under the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), lacks affiliation, which means that students who complete the programmes offered by it do not get certificates.
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On Monday, around 3.30 pm, over 600 people, including students of GKCIET and other institutes and joined by area locals, blocked the National Highway 34 near Rathbari area, throwing the traffic out of gear.
The protesters later lifted the blockade upon request from people who complained of inconvenience. The students later said that if today’s protest too fell on deaf ears, they would resort to an even bigger movement.
Significantly, while the blockade went on for over five hours, no senior police officer or anyone from the district administration visited the spot. The in-charge of the English Bazar Police Station and the sub-divisional officer (SDO) from the area who later went to the site allegedly lathi-charged the protesting students.
“Five students were hospitalised. Two of them, Alamgir Khan, also a first-year diploma student and Parama Kumari, who is pursuing her BTech, suffered serious injuries,” Zahedi said. While officers of English Bazar police station refuted the claim, SP Prasun Bandopadhyay’s phone went unanswered. ASP Abhishek Modi refused to comment.