Kolkata’s Presidency University V-C gives agitating students slip, leaves campus after 16 hrs
Among other demands, the protesters want immediate completion of the repair work in three of the five wards at the 130-year-old Hindu Hostel. They also want the eight sacked hostel employees be reinstated without delay.Updated: Feb 04, 2020 22:38 IST
Presidency University Vice- chancellor Anuradha Lohia returned to the campus on Tuesday, hours after making a dramatic exit through the side door of her chamber to escape the clutches of agitating students.
Lohia quietly slipped through the side door of her chamber on the first floor around 6 am, after remaining in confinement for nearly 16 hours, university officials said.
The vice-chancellor, however, made her way back to the campus at 3 pm, even as over 100 protesting students sat outside the main door and shouted slogans.
“Yes, I am back in the university,” she told PTI when contacted on Tuesday evening, without elaborating.
The agitating students said they will not prevent her from leaving, but continue with their sit-in outside Lohia’s office.
Among other demands, the protesters want immediate completion of the repair work in three of the five wards at the 130-year-old Hindu Hostel. They also want the eight sacked hostel employees be reinstated without delay.
The agitators had kept the VC hostage in her chamber since 2 pm on Monday to press for their demands.
“We had demanded a categorical reply from the VC over our demands, a written note listing all the issues before allowing her to leave, but she escaped through a side door even as we were sitting outside the main door.
“We will not allow her to get away like this when she visits the campus again,” Subho Biswas, one of the protesting students had said earlier in the day.
The protesting students also demanded that the VC express regret in writing over the issue of female students allegedly been prevented from taking part in a convention on the day of Saraswati Puja in the campus, due to the hostel renovation.
Another student, Debnil Paul, on Tuesday evening said they do not want to disrupt academic or administrative work of the varsity.
“We have met some of the faculty members this afternoon and told them we are not at war with our teachers, and are hopeful they will communicate our stand to the higher authorities and act as the bridge,” he said.
Biswas alleged that despite repeated reminders, the authorities did not expedite the repair work of Hindu Hostel, and took “vindictive” action against those demanding its quick completion.
Secretary of girls’ common room, Shruti Roy Muhuri, said the university officials were dilly-dallying over timely completion of repair work in wards 3, 4 and 5 of the Hindu Hostel since last year.
Two wards of the hostel, under repair for three years, were opened in November 2018 after agitation by students.
The Hindu Hostel building, located adjacent to the university, was shut down for repairs in July 2015, and the boarders were shifted to a rented accommodation at New Town.