Presidency Varsity VC Gherao Lifted, Students Continue Protest

A couple of hours before the convocation, the VC was escorted by teachers from her office to the function hall on the other end of the sprawling campus.

Published: 22nd August 2015 09:32 PM  |   Last Updated: 22nd August 2015 09:43 PM   |  A+A-


SFI activists shout slogans at a protest against alleged police assault on students at Presidency College in Kolkata. |PTI


KOLKATA: A 26-hour-long gherao of Presidency University Vice Chancellor Anuradha Lohia ended tonight after she left the campus following the convocation saying she is unwell, but demonstration by students continued.

"I am feeling unwell and therefore leaving the campus now," Lohia said an hour after the convocation and the students allowed her to go.

The students, however, insisted on her resignation saying they would continue to occupy the office.

"We had decided to allow her leave the campus since she has been feeling unwell, but our protests will continue. We will continue to occupy the office till she resigns," Trisha Chanda, general secretary of the students union, told PTI.

The boycott call given by a section of protesting students failed to cast shadow over the convocation ceremony which was attended by students in large numbers.

The mood at the university campus was divided as many students shouted 'We want convocation' while others raisedslogans demanding the VC's resignation over alleged police assault on students protesting during West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's visit to the campus yesterday.

A couple of hours before the convocation, the VC was escorted by teachers from her office to the function hall on the other end of the sprawling campus.

The convocation was attended by Governor K N Tripathi, who is also the chancellor of the university.

During her convocation speech, Lohia referred to the agitation saying every challenge is an opportunity.

"My faculty and students stood by me and made sure that nothing marred the convocation. Thank you faculty, thank you students," she said.

The protesting students, adamant over their demand of resignation, allowed the VC to attend the convocation but had earlier barred her from leaving the office since about 5 pm yesterday when the protests started.

"We did not do anything to disrupt the ceremony. We decided that we will allow her to go but will not leave the office till she resigns," they said.

The university registrar, teachers and other senior officials were also present along with Lohia during the gherao.

"It is not just about the chief minister's visit yesterday and the following police assault on our students. The VC has failed on a number of counts in the past also," the students said.

Eminent scientist Padmanabhan Balaram, who was the chief guest at the function, said "Students must respect their parents and they must respect their teachers. How much respect do teachers get? Very little from the surroundings, very little from the students."

Later, Lohia told reporters that no student boycotted the convocation and only a small group of students have been protesting.

"May be few students did not come. We want scholarship and academic excellence in the university," the VC said while urging protesters to return to their studies.

"I have got emails from many students who are expressing their solidarity. They are supporting us. The ones who are protesting are a very small group but very loud," Lohia told PTI.

State Education Minister Partho Chatterjee, who was yesterday forced to walk out from the back gate of the university as the students blocked the main gate, today attended the convocation and left the campus with the Governor.

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