Presidency students gherao VC, other officials for 16 hours
The students of Presidency University confined the Vice Chancellor and other officials to their rooms for 16 hours till Tuesday morning, pressing for a host of demands including reopening of the entire Hindu Hostel and resignation of its super.
The gherao or siege outside Vice Chancellor Anuradha Lohia's room started at around 1 p.m. on Monday with protesting students staging a sit-in opposing the sacking of some mess staff and seeking the formation of a hostel welfare committee and an increase in male staff at the hostel.
Displaying posters and banners highlighting their demands, the students raised slogans of "Azadi" as Lohia, the registrar and a number of other professors and officials remained confined through the night.
One of the protesters alleged that some girl students were not allowed to enter the campus on the day of Saraswati Puja and sought an apology from the authorities.
The Hindu Hostel was shut down for repairing work in July 2015, and around 150 boarders were shifted to a rented accommodation in New Town, which is quite far from the university. The administration failed in meeting several deadlines for completing the work.
Some of the floors were opened since 2018, but the students have been demanding three more wards should be opened for them.
The Vice Chancellor and the other officials left the campus through a different door at 5.45 a.m. on Tuesday, eluding the protesters.
A student later said that the authorities "fled stealthily" as they were unable to reply to the students' charges.
Lohia did not make any comment, but state Education Minister Partha Chatterjee criticised the students for confining the Vice Chancellor and other officials.
"This politics of gherao or confining the officials to realise every demand is not proper. I would urge the students to reconsider their approach. These issues can be sorted out through dialogue," said Chatterjee.IANS