No dhaba, no meet: Stephen’s alumni

Published on Sep 25, 2016 09:00 AM IST
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HT Image

NEW DELHI : The alumni association of Delhi University’s St Stephen’s College has appealed to the principal to reopen the Rohtas Metro Dhaba, which has been shut for eight months now.

They say they will not attend the alumni get-together on October 8, if the eatery is not opened.

The dhaba was closed in February after the owner, Rohtas, died.

Since then, college teachers requested the new principal, John Varghese, to allow his son Sushil to run the eatery. The canteen, which only sells samosas, nimbu paani and gulab jaamun, has been part of college since 1922.

The Association of Old Stephanians consisting of members such as bureaucrat AshishJoshi and Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit, has written a letter to Varghese.

“The alumni organised a condolence meeting for Rohtas on February 7. Several alumni had attended the meeting, with the request to reopen the dhaba. However, the dhaba remains closed,” said a statement from the association.

When alumni such as chief economic advisor Arvind Subramaniam and historian Ramachandra Guha wanted to hold a prayer meeting for Rohtas after his death, they were not allowed in the college.

The issue turned into a controversy with the then principal, Valson Thampu, calling Rohtas a “samosa wala” and questioning if he supplied more than the eatable.

The association said it would accept the principal’s invitation for the alumni meet only if the eatery is opened.

“Open the dhaba and we will be there,” said the association in the letter.

The principal could not be reached for a comment.

In 2012, Thampu tried to close the dhaba but students protested against the decision.

Then also, the Association of Old Stephanians started an online petition to prevent the dhaba from shutting down.

Students, alumni and teachers say the dhaba is a“part of Stephanian lore and heritage ”. Teachers say they have also raised the issue with the principal repeatedly.

“The repeated assurance from the principal that he is looking into the matter has fallen flat,” said a senior teacher of the college.

“It seems that the previous principal is influencing the decision making process. Rohtas family is being victim is ed unnecessarily ,” the teacher said.

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