Patna: Nearly a dozen students were injured in Patna on Monday when Bihar police baton-charged them for protesting against the government for allegedly failing to provide them benefits of the student credit card scheme. A few seriously injured students were admitted to a government-run hospital for treatment.
Hundreds of slogan-shouting students protested against the Nitish Kumar-led National Democratic Alliance government near the Sachivalaya area in Patna, blocked roads for over an hour, and demanded financial benefits under the student credit card scheme meant for financially weaker sections.
Police officials said that students were staging a protest in a prohibited zone and tried to gherao the chief minister’s official residence, which forced them to take action for maintaining law and order.
The protesting students raised slogans against the government and questioned the student credit card scheme. ”Students were not provided Rs 4 lakh under the student credit card scheme as announced by the government even after we have submitted an application. We have staged the protest to draw the government’s attention to its failure to provide us benefits as promised,” Santosh Kumar, a protesting student said.
Another participant in the protests, Mahendar Kishor said the police action had once again exposed the government and its failure to implement a scheme for the students. “We were protesting for a genuine cause, but the police baton-charged us,” he said.
With the Bihar Assembly Polls approaching fast, the lathi-charge on students was criticised by the Opposition parties, including Left parties.
In 2015, Nitish Kumar had launched the student credit card scheme to help and promote higher education. As per the scheme, a student is provided with an education loan up to Rs 4 lakh, with 4% simple interest. For women, disabled and transgender candidates, the interest payable is only 1%.
According to the government announcement, the scheme was mainly for those students who have passed the Class 12 board exams but are unable to pursue higher studies due to financial constraints and are eligible to receive assistance in the form of low-interest loans.