Kolkata, 21 August: THE students at Presidency University in Kolkata have confined vice-chancellor Anuradha Lohia to her chamber for five hours now after the police allegedly manhandled some students when they waved black flags at Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who visited the campus earlier today.
The students are bent on the resignation of the V-C and their on-going agitation has put a question mark on the varsity’s convocation scheduled to take place on Saturday. They are accusing the V-C of failing to stop an alleged police assault on them inside the campus.
Trouble started around 4 pm on Friday when Chief Minister Miss Banerjee went to Presidency University’s main campus at College Street to handover some financial assistance from the state government.
Prior to her visit, a section of students owing allegiance to Independent Consolidation and the CPI-M’s student wing, Student Federation of India, put up posters and wrote walls in the campus that read “Chief Minister you are not welcome.”
The students are angry because the administration has not yet booked the culprits of the 10 April 2013 infamous vandalism at Presidency’s heritage Baker’s Lab, which was perpetrated allegedly by some Trinamool Congress leaders.
When the CM’s convoy rolled into the campus, the students waved black flags at her and shouted slogans questioning the government’s silence over the Baker’s Lab vandalism. Prior to this, state education minister Partha Chatterjee could not enter the varsity’s administrative building as the students were demonstrating at its entry.
The students did not block the CM’s convoy but despite this, they later alleged that the police manhandled the agitators, including some women students.
Aggrieved over this, just after the CM left the campus aroud 5 pm, the students confined the V-C to her chamber and announced that their agitation would continue until Prof Lohia stepped down for her failure to protect the students inside the campus. The students are squatting in the V-C’s chamber; apart from the V-C, Presidency’s registrar and other officials are present there.
CM Miss Banerjee who spoke at the aid handing over ceremony at the varsity’s Derozio Hall earlier in the afternoon, reacted to the students’ waving black flags at her, saying that she did not need their clearance to visit Presidency.
“I don’t owe anyone an explanation for visiting Presidency. I don’t need the students’ permission to come here; one does not need permission to enter her home, her centre of work. If I must need a permission, it would be from the head of the institute and not anyone else,” she said.
Blaming the “negative segments” who always “indulge in negativity” Miss Banerjee said: “In democracy, courtesy is a very important factor. We must stick to discipline.”
The CM handed over Rs 30-crore aid to the V-C for Presidency’s development inviting applause from the packed auditorium with most of the audience being students.