India

Presidency University students continue with sit-in outside VC’s office; demand repeal of students’ suspension

A section of students of Presidency University continued their sit-in outside the VC’s office demanding that the authorities revoke the suspension of three students for locking the varsity’s main gate

Photo Courtesy: PTI 
Photo Courtesy: PTI 

NH Web Desk

A section of students of Presidency University on Thursday continued with their sit-in outside the vice-chancellor's office demanding that the authorities revoke the suspension of three students for locking the varsity's main gate on September 10.

The Vice-Chancellor Anuradha Lohia said the three students should first offer unconditional apology for their conduct.

The agitating students, six of whom were also on an indefinite fast since January 19 are demanding that the varsity authorities immediately revoke the suspension order or share the findings of the inquiry committee, which had recommended the suspension order.

The students are holding the sit-in outside the VC's office since Wednesday afternoon.

The VC told a press meet in her office on Thursday, the inquiry committee had found the three students took the most active role in bolting the main gate and preventing the faculty and non-teaching staff to enter the campus which led to severe disruption of functioning of the institute on September 10.

"These three should first apologise to us for their conduct on that day," she said.

"The agitating students are claiming that if disciplinary action has to be taken, it has to be initiated against all the 400 students who were present at the campus on that day and not just against three. ... our enquiry report points out these three took the initiative in locking the gate ...," she said.

Stating the varsity had not taken action against students for several disruptive agitations at the campus in past, Lohia said, "We had not taken any action at that time. But locking the gate of an institute on a working day and preventing their own teachers and staff from entering is unethical, unacceptable."

The VC said while the inquiry committee had recommended action against 21 students for the September 10 incident, "I had waived the suspension order for 18 students and instead only issued them a note of caution while the suspension period of three students was reduced from one year to six months."

She said while the agitating students were claiming they will not prevent her or any other official of the varsity from leaving, "they are on a sit-in before my office since Wednesday afternoon and lying on the floors. It is not possible to leave by jumping over them. We will prefer to be in campus as long as they want."

The students who were suspended are Sayan Chakravarty, a second-year post-graduate student studying Economics from Masagram, Bardhaman; Anisur Haque, a third year student of Geology from Rampurhat and Anit Baidya, also a third year student of Biological Sciences from Basirhat. They were suspended for a period of six months beginning on December 19. They were identified as the students responsible for locking the gates of the University, resulting in the disruption of the university’s convocation scheduled to take place on September 11, at the Nandan III auditorium.

On September 10, a large group of students blocked the main entrance of the University demanding that they receive immediate accomodation in the adjacent Hindu hostel. Agitations regarding the handover of Hindu Hostel had been going on for over a month prior to the incident.

State Education minister Partha Chatterjee lashed out at the students and stated that they had inherited the legacy of sloganeering from the erstwhile Left rule.

An agitating student Sayan Chakraborty who was also one of the students suspended, criticised the VC for terming the indefinite fast by six students as blackmail and asked "if fast is not part and weapon in a democratic movement."

Another agitator Ujan demanded immediate withdrawal of suspension notice or sharing contents of the enquiry committee report with the students.

He said while seven students had initially started the fast, one had become seriously ill and had to be hospitalised and another joined the fast after hospitalisation for a brief period.

(with inputs from PTI)

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