'Sale' of medical seats: Protest turns violent

Police personnel and protesters clashing in front of the MES Raja Residency School at Mukkam in Kozhikodeon Friday | N P Jayan

The protest organised by the students’ organisations at MES Raja Residency School, Mukkam, on Friday turned violent and police used tear gas and lathis to disperse the protesters. The alleged sale of medical management seats by private medical colleges even before the All Kerala Private Entrance Examination was held is what provoked the students unions. They demanded to stop the entrance examination and sought strict action against medical college managements. Two policemen and a lady civil police officer sustained injuries in the scuffle between the police and the protesters. Police used teargas twice and lathicharged the protesters five times to bring the situation under control. SFI state secretary T P Bineesh, AISF state secretary K P Sandeep and many SFI and AISF activists got injured in the lathicharge. Kerala Private Medical Entrance Examination was held on Friday at MES Raja Residency School Mukkam to fill the 50 per cent (360 seats) management seats. However, students unions claimed that the exam was only a farce in the wake of the alleged sale of seats by private medical colleges for `35 to 75 lakh, which was exposed recently. Students unions, one after the other, took out marches to the school and tried to enter inside the school premises to stop the entrance examination, which led the police to lock horns with the protesters. KSU was the first students union to reach the spot at 9 am. The police blocked them at the entrance and all of them were taken to Kunnamangalam Police Station. At 12.15 pm, a group of less than 10 ABVP activists, all of a sudden, rushed to the school, but police nabbed and took them into custody. As the police had already got intimation about the protests in advance, around 200 cops from local aid, special armed service and Malabar Reserved Police had reached the spot in the early hours on Friday. The atmosphere charged up with the arrival of AISF and SFI activists. Around 50 AISF activists reached the spot at 1.30 pm and though they tried their maximum to get inside the school, they were stopped by the police. But the arrival of SFI into the scene further convoluted the mess. Police had to struggle a hard to control while SFI and AISF protested together. Stone pelting by the protesters forced the police to use tear gas twice. The situation was brought under control by 4 pm. Meanwhile, the AISF and SFI activists fought with each ther claiming the credit of the protest. Amidst police action, the activists cornered themselves and started fighting. Police, without knowing what was going on, stood as mere spectators. Later it was learned that the argument over who should enter into the school first had led to the fight between the SFI and the AISF. AISF claimed that, as they had reached the spot earlier than the SFI, they should enter first. But SFI wanted to enter the school before them. However, even before reaching the vicinity of the school gate, police used force and many were taken into custody.
1,600 candidates take exam
Amidst violence, 1,600 students from across the state attended the exam on Friday. Students and parents were disappointed by the news reports that the seats had already been sold and the entrance examination was just a farce. Moreover, the clash between police and student protesters along with the threatening of union leaders added to the agony of the candidates. AISF activists tried to prevent some girl students from entering the exam venue but the timely intervention of the police thwarted untoward incidents. A few students have reportedly gone back without writing the entrance examination. Parents expressed disapproval of the alleged sale of medical seats even before the declaration of the results of the All Kerala Private Medical Entrance Examination for management seats. “My daughter was crying after knowing that the seats have been sold already. She told me that there was no point in writing the entrance examination and she was reluctant to come here. It was after consoling and motivating her the whole night she agreed to attend the exam,”said Bini Mathew, a parent.

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