Engineering students on protest damage college buses

CHENNAI: At least five buses of the Sree Sastha Institute of Engineering and Technology in Chembarambakkam near Poonamallee were damaged on Thursday when protesting students of the institution indulged in stone-throwing. The protesters, who were demanding a reduction in the college timing, rolling back the hike in administration fee and basic facilities in the hostels, later moved on to the Chennai-Bangalore Highway and continued to demonstrate.

The police soon reached the spot and removed the students from the highway. Traffic was affected for a few hours. Later, the management declared two days of holidays.

Around 8.30 am, about 500 students began shouting slogans against the management near the main entrance. One group stopped a college bus and asked the students to get down. “Suddenly, some students began throwing stones at the bus. No one was injured but a least five college buses were damaged,” college officials told The Times of India.

One group went inside the campus and broke the windows of classrooms and the door of the science laboratory. Later, the mass of students moved on to the Chennai-Bangalore Highway and continued to demonstrate, affecting the traffic. About 100 police personnel led by Poonamallee assistant commissioner S Murugan rushed there and removed them from the highway.

The students appeared upset about the change in timings. “Most of us come from far-off places and return home only around 7 pm. Now, the management has extended the timing up to 4 pm without consulting us. How can we do our assignments if we reach home late?” a second year student later told TOI.

One group said the conditions in the hostels were bad. “They don’t provide basic facilities, including proper food. We lodged several complaints but the officials don’t seem to care,” a third year engineering students told TOI. Most of those who talked to TOI claimed that the college was collecting an annual fee more than that fixed by Anna University.

When contacted, staff in the office of the principal said they were ready to reduce the college timing. “We extending the timing so that teachers can spend more time with poorly-performing students,” an official said.

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