Pro-Baidya students attack colleges, torch school bus
KATHMANDU, July 17: The All Nepal National Independent Student Union-Revolutionary (ANNISU-R) affiliated to the Mohan Baidya led CPN (Maoist) has vandalized two private colleges and a vehicle of another school in the Valley Monday morning without any prior warning for the use of foreign names and high tuition fees.
Separate groups of students vandalized South Western State College (SWSC) in Basundhara and Everest Florida Higher Secondary School at Meenbhawan at around five in the morning while a school bus of Rato Bangala School was set on fire at Patan Dhoka a little later. Vice-principal of SWSC Hari Singh KC said a group of about seven students forcibly entered the college and smashed the glass of the main gate, computers, television set and an aquarium at the reception.
“We do not know who carried out the attack as they left no pamphlets or letter. The guards said a few of the youths said they belonged to ANNISU-R while returning after destruction,” Vice-principal KC said. He claimed that the college did not receive any threats for donation in the recent past.
Principal of Everest Florida College Dr Manoj Kumar Jha said a group of over 30 people on motorcycle entered the college and smashed window panes and a chandelier kept in the reception. “They left behind a pamphlet of ANNISU-R which the police, who came later to our college, took away for investigations,” Principal Jha said. Likewise, a group of around five persons set the school bus of Rato Bangala School. Seats of the school bus have been burnt in the fire that was taken under control by a fire engine.
Coordinator of Baidya affiliated ANNISU-R Sharad Rasaily, acknowledging responsibility, termed the attacks symbolic and warned of more "destructive and serious repercussions" if their demands were not met. Their demands include education up to grade 12 free, egalitarian and "scientific" fee structure in private schools. He termed the practice of using foreign names as a means to fleece people with false promise of international level education and said all schools using foreign name would be punished if they do not change their name.
The education department--standing on the Sixth amendment to the Education Act in 2051 BS which says educational institutions should adopt names reflecting Nepali culture, history, geography, heritage or that honor national or social figures--recently issued directive to all 75 districts to ensure that suitable, relevant and Nepali-sounding names are chosen for new colleges and for replacing old names. But the vandalized private colleges claimed they have yet to receive any formal letter to that regard from any regulatory government body. “We have not received any letters asking us to change our name. And we are using Nepali name anyway,” claimed Jha of Everest Florida.
Coordinator of Baidya affiliated ANNISU-R Rasaily said Everest Florida School was attacked not for extortion but because it used small letters for the Nepali name and displayed the foreign names in bigger fonts. Jha said a group of ANNISU-R students had visited CEO Binod Joshi a week ago demanding "donations". They returned after Joshi asked them to come back again in a week´s time. “This has been an old ploy to defame us. We are doing all this for educational reforms and not for extortion,” Rasaily stated.
He said the school bus of Rato Bangala School was set on fire for charging exorbitant fees. “They charge very high fees in the name of quality education and the school regulations require that the guardian must own a private vehicle,” he claimed.
He said ANNISU-R will coordinate with Nepali Congress affiliated Nepal Students Union (NSU), CPN-UML affiliated All Nepal National Free Student Union (ANNFSU) and others--who recently smeared soot on the hoarding boards of Everest Florida, NASA college, White House College and Columbus College for using foreign names-to bring about education reforms.