NE students assaulted in Pune

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PUNE, August 11 (Agencies): Around 10 people from the North-East who live in Pune have been beaten up in separate incidents over the last two days in the upscale Kondhwa and Pune Camp area, sparking fear and panic in the 8,000-strong community. Most of those attacked are students. The reason why people from the North-East are being targeted is not known. Police have registered complaints of rioting against unidentified persons and begun a probe. Four students were allegedly beaten by mob of young men near Poona College in the Pune Camp area Thursday. The victims filed an FIR at the Cantonment police station Friday.

A second complaint was filed at Kondhwa police station by youngsters who were allegedly beaten in Kondhwa. On Thursday, a Manipuri student had lodged a similar complaint at Cantonment police station. Some complainants have reportedly told police that their attackers asked them if they were from Assam, but had not waited for a reply before assaulting them. Police sources said they would probe if the attacks were connected in any way with the recent Bodo-Muslim violence in Assam. Infosys employee Kahomdai Panmei (29) of Manipur, who lives in Kondhwa, said he was attacked on Wednesday evening. “I had dropped my sister at her residence in Shivneri Nagar, Kondhwa, around 8.30 pm on Wednesday. A few youths suddenly attacked me with iron rods and bamboo sticks… I failed to understand the reason.”

“On Thursday, Thuike Ywang (24) of Manipur, who is student of Poona College, was beaten up by two persons in Kondhwa when he went to buy rice at a shop around 7 pm,” Kahomdai Panmei added. Poona College student Premanand Khomdram of Manipur, who was the first to lodge a complaint, told the police that a mob rushed towards him, asked if he was from Assam, but before he could reply, began raining blows. Leaders of N-E students unions in Pune held a meeting at a hotel near the railway station Friday to discus the situation. Apparently, several other people were beaten up on August 8 and 9, some of whom have now gone to police.

A delegation of N-E students also submitted an application to Pune Police Commissioner Gulabrao Pol Friday. Pol ordered a probe and appointed Crime Branch assistant police inspector K G Handore investigation officer. “We do know the reason behind the attacks. We do not want to name any community. We have done nothing wrong. We need a secure atmosphere to study and work in Pune,” Rock Lungleng, a student leader from Manipur who led the delegation to the police chief, said.

Peimingam Zimik, president of the Naga Students’ Union in the city, said, “Four Naga students were attacked in Poona College and two in Kondhwa.” Thangboi Haokip, president of Kuki Student Organisation, said that two Kuki students were beaten up on Thursday when they went to Poona College to collect some documents. Jacob Khiangte, president of the Mizo Students’ Union, said there were nearly 8,000 students from the North-East in Pune. “Student leaders representing all N-E states have come together to tackle the problem,” he said.

Poona College principal G M Naziruddin said, “We are helping the police and want the miscreants to be nabbed. We do not want nuisance in our college.” Assistant Inspector Handore promised a “proper investigation”.

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