Nearly 200 students attending a lecture were unsettled, after a group of six to eight men, armed with hockey sticks and cricket bats, barged into their classroom and resorted to violence yesterday. The miscreants not only abused and threatened the lecturer Avinash Dharmadhikari, a former IAS officer and Founder-Director of Chanakya Mandal, but ransacked the college premises, also breaking the glasses of few cars and bikes parked in the vicinity before leaving.
The incident took place at Tilak College of Education, located on S P College campus in Sadhashiv Peth last evening. The fracas began after two students of Chanakya Mandal, a coaching institute for competitive exams, were embroiled in a tiff with an outsider over the parking of a two-wheeler in the campus. A few minutes after the argument, the goons carrying hockey sticks and bats entered the first-floor classroom, where Dharmadhikari’s lecture was taking place.
“The goons entered my class and demanded that the two students be handed over to them, who according to them had fought with their brother. They warned us that if we didn’t, they would attack all of us. When I objected to their entry, they started abusing me,” said Dharmadhikari. “Offended with the abusive language directed at me, all the students in the class spoke up and hence the goons stepped out. But on their way out, they damaged the college notice boards. They also did not spare the bikes and four-wheelers parked outside, shattering the glasses of the vehicles with their hockey sticks,” said Dharmadhikari.
After realising that the thugs were waiting outside the college, Dharmadhikari notified the police. The Senadatta police, however, lodged a complaint three hours after the incident against three youths involved in the incident. The complaint was filed by SP College authorities, who have rented out the classroom to Chanakya Mandal, where the organization conducts lectures on Saturday and Sunday.
Dharmadhikari later alleged that some political party members were pressurising the police against lodging a complaint, as the goons were affiliated to that particular outfit. “The procedure of registering a complaint is still ongoing. Out of the three attackers, we have detained one, while the other two are absconding,” said a police official of Senadatta police chowky.
SP College reacts
When contacted Anant Mate, vice-president of Shikshan Prasarak Mandali, which runs SP College, said, “The incident is really unfortunate. I was in Nigdi when I received Dharmadhikari’s call about the incident. I immediately rushed to the college. The police have managed to catch one of the accused.”
“The episode highlights the urgent need to restrict entry to outsiders on the college campus. Against the backdrop of today’s incident, the management will take a serious decision in this regard soon,” Mate added.