Engineering students take to crime to lead a flashy life

A few months back an elderly couple living alone in a multi-storeyed building in a posh area in Bhubaneswar was brutally attacked with sharp weapons.

While the wife died on the spot, the husband, a retired engineer, succumbed to his injuries a few days later in a hospital. After a thorough investigation, the city police nabbed four youths in connection with the incident. Among them, three were students of a private engineering college in the city. The motive behind the planned attack was to rob the couple.

In another incident, two passengers and the driver and the conductor of a private bus were waiting for others to board the bus in an isolated place inside the Barmunda bus stand, the state capital’s main bus terminus, for a late evening journey to Baripada, the district headquarters town of the tribal-dominated Mayurbhanj district when five youths barged into the bus brandishing sharp weapons.

They threatened and looted the passengers and the staff. They snatched valuables, mobile phones and cash from them. Within a few days, the city police managed to crack the case and arrested the five culprits. All of them were second year B-tech students of a city-based private engineering college.

Special squad

Last month, the special squad of the Bhubaneswar police conducted a raid on a slum in the city and arrested five illegal gun-runners from a rented house. Four pistols, 15 rounds of bullets and two bikes were seized from them. Police investigation revealed that they had connections with illegal gun traders in Bihar and Jharkhand. Two of the five arrested were engineering students.

Early this month, the local police in Cuttack arrested four people from north Odisha’s Balasore district in connection with stealing of 14 computers from a hostel with the help of a hostel staff. Two of the four were students of a Balasore-based private engineering college.

Just a few days after the Delhi gang rape incident, three youths in Bhubaneswar were nabbed by people and handed over to the police for molesting a girl on a street in an inebriated state. One of them was an engineering student.

These are some of the cases of increasing number of crimes committed by engineering and other students in different parts of Odisha, particularly in Bhubaneswar in the last couple of years.

If police sources are to be believed, during the last two years nearly hundred engineering students have been arrested in different parts of the state in connection with major crimes like murder, looting, robbery, rape, kidnapping, gun-running and bike lifting. The Bhubaneswar police had recently arrested a technical student who turned out to be the leader of a bike lifting gang.

Flashy life style

Police and experts attribute this disturbing trend to various factors and students’ increasing desire to lead a flashy life style tops the list. They want to have expensive mobile phones, sleek bikes and latest gadgets. They also need extra money to party with their friends. As a majority of them cannot afford all these from the money given by their parents, some of them take to crimes like looting, dacoity, gun-running and even contract killings.

“During interrogation, one of the arrested engineering student had confessed that he had stolen a laptop from a hostel to raise money to present his girl friend an expensive mobile set. In another case, a student had admitted that he agreed to be a part of a street looters’ gang to buy a motor bike,” said a police official in Bhubaneswar,  adding that students addicted to drugs and liquor also take to serious crimes to meet their extra financial requirements.

Some experts blamed the careless attitude of parents for growing crime rate as they do not keep a close watch on their wards studying in different institutions. There are nearly hundred engineering and management institutes in the state and almost 90 per cent of them are privately run. Barring one or two deemed universities, private and government technical colleges are affiliated to the government-run Biju Patnaik University of Technology. Most of the students stay in hostels either run by the colleges or outsiders.

In fact, of late there has been a huge growth in the number of private hostels in Bhubaneswar where more than half of the technical institutes are located. Once their children start staying in the hostels, parents hardly keep a tab on their activities which often provides a chance for the students an excellent opportunity to do what they like.

To prevent technical students from taking to crimes, experts suggest two major steps--every institution should have a proper and effective counseling mechanism to guide the students and parents must keep proper track of the activities of their children in coordination with the college authorities. Only sending money at the end of every month will not be enough. These two steps are needed to be taken immediately to control the menace before it is too late.

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