Kolkata, 22 August: PRESIDENCY University held its convocation on Saturday amidst a section of the students protesting since Friday demanding the resignation of vice-chancellor Prof Anuradha Lohia over an alleged police lathi-charge on the students inside the campus.
Prof Lohia who had been confined to her chamber since 5 pm Friday, was allowed to attend the convocation that started a little after 5 pm on Saturday.
Bengal education minister Partha Chatterjee who had to face students’ ire on Friday, travelled to the varsity for the convocation along with Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi in the latter’s official car. The Governor, by virtue of his chair, is the chancellor of Presidency University.
The agitating students had initially announced that they would boycott the convocation but would not obstruct the Governor’s entry. However, on noticing the minister in the Governor’s car, they tried to put up a blockade and shouted anti-government slogans.
Police had to come to the rescue of the Governor and escort him to the venue along with the education minister. The convocation was held in a chaotic environment and was concluded hurriedly.
During the course of the day, CPI-M’s student wing, the Student Federation of India, held a demonstration at College Street expressing solidarity with the agitating Presidency students and this was countered by another demonstration by the rival Trinamool Chhatra Parishad.
Because of the confinement by the students for near 24-hours since Friday, Prof Lohia complained of unease on Saturday morning and a medical team was called in to check on her health.
In the evening, after the convocation, she again complained of feeling unwell and this time the agitating students allowed her to go home.
But the students have decided to continue with their protest until she stepped down as the VC for her failure to protect the student from alleged police assault inside the campus and their all demands are fulfilled.
The demands include bringing the culprits of the 10 April 2013 vandalism at Presidency’s heritage Baker’s Lab that was allegedly perpetrated by the Trinamool Congress.
The students had on Friday waved black flags to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee when she visited the campus to handover some financial aid from the state government for the varsity’s development.