Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s decision not to bring back more than 6,000 Bihari students stranded in Kota has now generated protests from students and the Opposition has started tearing apart the state government, accusing it of being callous. The Patna University Students’ Union on Tuesday staged a protest in front of the university campus demanding that the stranded students from Kota must be brought back. They were taken into the custody by the Pirbohor police station. Holding placards, these students also shouted slogans against the Nitish Kumar government. The entire issue has now snowballed into a major political controversy with the leader of Opposition, Tejashwi Yadav, training guns at Nitish Kumar for his “inaction” and “callousness”.
The Opposition seems to be getting the desired ammunition to nail down the Chief Minister as other states led by Yogi Adityanath’s Uttar Pradesh have come forward to the rescue of their respective students and arranged for their safe home coming. At the BL Residency in Kota’s Kunahari area, more than 100 students were stranded post-lockdown. “Most of the students have been taken back to their home by their respective state governments. As of now, 15 are still left in the hostel where the landlord wants to huddle them up in a hall on the first floor,” said Akash Deep, a student from Chhapra, Bihar, living in the same hostel. He further informed how two days back, five students from Chhattisgarh were taken back to their home state with the help of the Bhupesh Baghel government. “Some students from Bengal are also likely to move out in a day or two,” he added. The fate of Bihari students in Kota, however, hangs in balance. And this has worried Akash’s father, Santosh Prasad, an LIC agent.
“Powerful and influential people in the state have managed to bring back their children from Kota, but thousands of students belonging to poor families are left to fend for themselves,” he told The Daily Guardian. Meanwhile Pawan Kumar, an advocate, filed a case in Patna High Court. His daughter, too, has been stranded in Kota. The court has fixed May 5 as the next date of hearing and the state government has been asked to file its response that day. The issue snowballed into a major controversy putting the state government in the dock when some political leaders procured a pass and used their vehicle to bring back their children from Kota. Anil Singh, the BJP MLA from Nawada, faced severe criticism when he flouted the lockdown rules to bring back his daughter from Kota. The Daily Guardian contacted the state’s IPRD minister, Neeraj Kumar, a close confidant of Nitish Kumar, on the issue.
“It’s a policy matter. We are abiding by what the Central government has ordered and we stand by our decision. The states that chose to transport the kids back from Kota flouted the lockdown and are risking the lives of others,” he said. The minister also cited how approximately 25 people had to be quarantined recently In UP’s Gazipur area after a girl brought from Kota tested positive. “Why can’t the Rajasthan government take care of the stranded students when they form the backbone of the economy of places like Kota,” he asked. Meanwhile the anxiously waiting parents who have their children stranded in Kota are getting apprehensive and want the Nitish Kumar government to act.