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Violence Erupts In A Pro-quota Rally In Bihar

Over 35 persons including four photojournalists and some policemen were injured in the violence that erupted between the policemen and pro-quota protesters// on Friday and the subsequent lathi-charge.

This was the first pro-quota demonstration by students not only in Patna, but in the country too, after the anti-quota protests rocked the nation almost 10 days ago. The students from various medical colleges in Bihar alleged that the media and police were trying to "suppress" the Centre's proposal to introduce 27% reservations for OBCs in all the premier educational institutions. Meanwhile the anti-quota protests in the rest of the country continued with medical services in hospitals deteriorating further every day.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar asked the DGP, Mr Ashish Ranjan Sinha to inquire into the circumstances that led to the lathicharge on the agitating pro-quota medical students in Patna. It was reported that the protesters had turned violent during a demonstration by attacking the media persons as well as the policemen.

More than 100 agitating students, armed with hockey sticks, had first started marching from Gandhi Maidan in the morning and stopped in front of Mayura Hotel raising slogans against the media. The students alleged that a leading English news channel that has its office in the Mayura hotel was supporting the anti-quota movement. The students, mostly from the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH), then continued their march towards the Dak Bungalow crossing where they clashed with media persons and policemen.

The pro-quota students and doctors attacked the lens men and policemen accusing them of being biased towards the anti-quota lobby. The students claimed that the media and police were trying to “suppress” the Centre’s proposal to introduce 27 per cent reservation for OBCs in premier educational institutions. In the fight, which erupted fifteen persons, including photojournalists and some poli cemen, sustained injuries.

It has been reported that photographers of the Press Trust of India, Times of India and Hindustan Times, cameramen of Star News, ETV and Aaj Tak TV channels and some journalists were injured when the students assaulted them with hockey sticks. The students then turned their wrath at the policemen. Kundan Krishnan the Senior Police Superintendent of Patna said at least the student’s had injured five policemen.

The police then had to resort to lathicharge to disperse the protesting students. But the students while fleeing from the spot, damaged cars in front of the Times of India Office. Over 20 students were injured in the lathicharge. The police suspected the involvement of some anti-social elements in unleashing violence.
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