In the last year or so, there have been many firsts for Pandit Neki Ram Sharma Government College. Its principal mans the college gates, teachers patrol the campus during free periods, an armed former Army jawan is employed as the chowkidar and dense barbed wires line the boundary walls of the campus.
All this to control students aged 17 or 18, who “get into fights in our college almost every other day”.
On Monday, the college witnessed another first when Anil Singh, a first-year student of BA (History), was stabbed to death with an ice pick by five youths on the campus, forcing Rohtak police to deploy PCR vans at the college.
Incidentally, the killing comes just days after another teenager was stabbed to death with a pair of scissors by five youths over a “gang rivalry” in Janta Colony, not far from the college.
“Students get into fights in our college almost every other day. These fights are mainly over friendships and group loyalties… Students say it is a fight for pride and gang loyalty, which gives them a sense of identity and power. These are youths who shun academics and have no outlet to channel their energy, so they get stressed and frustrated,” said Ved Prakash, principal of the college.
“We have been holding workshops and lectures on anger management. We have banned elections of any kind in the college… We have a committee of teachers who are supposed to break fights and send students to their classrooms… Sometimes, we lock up students who are violent in a room and later hand them over (to their parents)… But this is the first time a fight has resulted in a death on our campus,” Prakash said.
Anil’s teachers said he got into a fight over a friend, also a first-year student. The friend suffered multiple stab injuries to the head.
“He (Anil’s friend) was discharged from hospital Monday evening. He has not been cooperating with the police… He might not be the victim’s friend but an associate of the assailants. We will send a team to question him tomorrow. We have identified five young men — mostly recent graduates and some students of the college — on the basis of the statement of a guard who saw the attack. We raided their homes but they are absconding. We will make arrests in the next two days. The fight seems to be over establishing supremacy in and around the campus,” Rohtak district police chief Shashank Anand said.
His friend, however, denied knowing Anil personally. “I was on my way to class when the incident happened. I did not know Anil personally. I occasionally saw him…but I never interacted with him before. On Monday, when I noticed a group of youths attacking Anil, I tried to walk away but someone ran up to me and attacked me with a sharp object. Then I fainted,” he said.
Anil’s brother Sunil, a second-year student of BSc in Physics in the same college, however, contradicted this and said he had seen Anil and his friend together.
Prakash and some teachers from the college visited Anil’s parents Tuesday. Anil, his family said, was a member of Arya Samaj and visited the village gurukul regularly. He wanted to be a social activist and serve the nation. “He dreamt big and said he wanted to work out of an office one day. Kushti was a sport he ardently pursued,” his cousin said.