Angry students, who were barred from appearing in the exams due to poor attendance, created ruckus at the campuses of Laxmi Education Society’s two colleges — MVLU and Chinai College — in Andheri on Friday, the first day of the first-year and second-year degree exams.
Giving it political colour, Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena activists accompanied 370 blacklisted students in their protest against college management’s decision. They raised slogans and vandalised property, forcing the college to postpone first exam on environment studies, from 12.30pm to 2.30pm.
The college had issued three ID cards: red cards for students with attendance below 50%, yellow cards for those between 50% and 75% and green cards for the rest.
On Friday, the college only allowed students with yellow and green cards to take the exam. The colleges had barred 156 students from appearing for the exams.
The students’ wing of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) also protested outside the Mumbai University campus at Fort. The police arrived and whisked away angry protesters. “We have arrested 17 political activists, including Shiv Sena MLA Abhijeet Adsul for rioting and trespass,” said S Deshmukh, senior police inspector of Andheri police station.
Last month too these blacklisted students had created a ruckus on the campus, following which the college had to employ private security guards. “The security guards didn’t allow us to enter college premises. The principal has not even spoken to us. A few of us have poor attendance because of genuine reasons but no one is listening to us,” said a final year student, who has 45% attendance.
“The higher education minister (Rajesh Tope) had promised us that he would let all of us take the exam,” said another student.
College authorities said that they have not received any instructions from the university on what to do about these blacklisted students.
A note released by the management states: “A three-member committee was set up by the university to look into the matter. The committee has submitted its report, but we are still awaiting instructions from the university. The management might contemplate conducting a separate exam for the debarred students if an instruction to this effect is given by the university.”
The college has been embroiled in controversy since June 2007 when the society had announced its decision to shut down the institutions.
Following this, petitions were filed in the Bombay high court. The government, too, challenged the decision. In July 2008, the court had set aside an order passed by the state school tribunal that had allowed the management of the colleges to shut down the institutions.