Students’ protest forces Presidency University to hold the convocation at another venue. Bharat Ratna CNR Rao and Dadasaheb Phalke award-winning actor Soumitra Chatterjee expressed their shock and disgust at irresponsible and disruptive student politics
Asim Kumar Mitra, Kolkata
The 150 years old Presidency College, which has recently been upgraded as a full-fledged University, could not hold their convocation this year in the University’s campus because of some unruly students’ effort to degrade and demolish the image of their prestigious institution into a ‘factory’. In fact there was a concerted effort pursued by a group of political elements and doubtful characters who had selected few famous educational institutions of the country e.g. Jadavpur University, Calcutta University, Presidency University, Visva Bharati University, etc. to damage their old tradition and status by introducing anti-social activities and hooliganism in the name of students’ movement.
Veteran actor Soumitra Chatterjee and Prof CNR Rao during the 6th Presidency Convocation event at Nandan on September 11, 2018 in Kolkata. The convocation venue was shifted from Presidency campus due to students agitation
The problem of repairing of Hindu Hostel could have been addressed much ahead of convocation. But laxity on the part of administrative authority of university and Education department of the Government of West Bengal damaged the whole situation. Allegedly the students under the influence and instigation of those ill-motivated politicians jumped into the troubled water with a definite motive of fishing.
Presidency Alumni and former Director of Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics Dr Bikash Sinha while speaking at the convocation did not mince his words to mention that he was sure there was some political force’s hand behind this ugly incident of locking the university gate. D.Sc. Awardee Bharat Ratna Dr CN Rao said, I am an admirer of Presidency. It is an institution of prestige for the whole country. Unfortunately, the students are showing a tendency for forgetting this rich heritage. This is highly deplorable. But political hands are there behind the incident of
locking the gate of Presidency College when immediately after the locking a statement supporting it came from Asim Chatterjee, a Maoist leader of yesteryears came into fore. Many political pundits have already expressed their doubt about the ‘ugly Maoist’ hands are working as an instigating factor. It is reported that the police has already taken up the case.
Not a single student was present at the convocation. Not even the 750 who were to get their degrees
Presidency University is the latest victim in their denigrating campaign. The problem started taking its roots two years back when the agitating students put forward their demand for thorough repairing of the Hostel named Hindu Hostel. The work was entrusted with the State Government’s Public Works Department. Unfortunately, they did not keep their word and finish the job within the stipulated time. The University authority was helpless. But students were adamant. When the University authority offered them alternative accommodation for a hostel, they straight away refused it. As the building of Hindu Hostel is 120 years old, PWD expressed their helplessness to finish the work within promised time.
At this juncture, a sort of impasse was created, and a handful of students, who are nothing but hooligans taking advantage of the situation did everything that is illegal and objectionable. Few students who flew to Kolkata from Bengaluru and other places to attend the gathering said we are upset to see that handful pf students could create such a situation. They locked the gates, leaving the VC and other faculty members out on such a critical day. Dr Bikash Sinha said, “I was shocked that students placed the university under lock. Students can’t do such things. It is a public institution”. “I would like you to tell the students it is time to stop such activities and agitations,” he told the audience.
In this connection, it was mentioned that there is a reason behind the delay in repairs. Noone except the PWD can repair the Eden Hindu Hostel. Now the relevant question was surfaced, how can a heritage building be rebuilt when the PWD does not have experts? Anuradha Lohia specifically mentioned that providing hostel accommodation to the students is not a legal obligation for the university. The rule says, if there is any vacancy in the hostel, they can provide them to the demanding students. But students cannot claim them as a matter of their right.