NAGPUR: So far, the Naxal menace was limited to Gadchiroli, Gondia and Chandrapur districts of Maharashtra and they involved mostly the police and other security personnel. For the first time, it appears, they have targeted educational institutions as well.
Nagpur University officials were in a state of shock after receiving a letter from a Naxal organization called ‘Lal Salaam’ allegedly threatening to take action against colleges and universities for unnecessarily harassing the students, NU sources disclosed.
Though the letter was addressed to state chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, it was sent to vice chancellor Vilas Sapkal at his office address here on Friday. The letter also said that varsities in Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Akola besides Nagpur would be targeted. It warned of dire consequences if the government and universities failed to act against alleged harassment meted out to engineering students, especially those pursuing civil and architecture.
NU officials TOI spoke to remained tight-lipped on the issue terming it as “confidential”. However Sapkal confirmed the development to TOI stating that the university had already handed the letter over to Sitabuldi police who subsequently handed it over to to DIG (Naxal Range) Ravindra Kadam.
“It was addressed to the CM and nothing specific was mentioned in it about the kind of threats. Yet, we are taking enough precautions and already asked the police to beef up security in and outside the NU premises,” Sapkal informed.
Copies of the letter were also marked to state DGP and home minister. It mentioned that a team of Naxals, including girls, had already penetrated into different cities and will carry out attacks if harassment of students was not stopped.
The single page letter had names of a couple of persons and some organizations of Pune as their potential target and also mentioned names of two city-based engineering colleges – GH Raisoni and Priyadarshini – both located at Hingna. The former is owned by education baron Sunil Raisoni and the latter is run by the society governed by former city Congress MLA Satish Chaturvedi.
Sapkal added that he had asked registrar Ashok Gomase to inform the colleges about letter. Interestingly, the letter also mentioned two mobile phone numbers of unknown persons. NU sources claimed that the letter had a post office seal of Salekasa town which falls in Gondia district. Varsity officials too are investigating if it was prank played by students.
Kadam denied any threat to the university or other institutions and termed the letter as “fake”. “Prima facie it appears to be a fake letter and nothing specific was mentioned in it. Currently, it’s in possession of IG office,” he told TOI.
NU sources stated that though the letter failed to specify exact nature of action and police rejecting any chances of threats, the university officials were taking it seriously taking into consideration the growing threats from Naxals.
“In past, many Naxals were caught in the city while planning subversive activities, four dreaded ones were nabbed at the historic Deekshabhoomi. Nothing can be ruled out at the moment,” sources added.
VARSITIES: Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Akola and Nagpur
NAGPUR: Specifically 2 in Nagpur – GH Raisoni and Priyadarshini
PUNE: Ameya Khatole and, Prashant Deshmukh & Associates
REASON CITED: Harassment of civil and architecture students
ORIGIN OF LETTER: Salekasa town in Gondi district
LETTER ADDRESSED TO: CM, DGP, home minister, Nagpur University VC