The vice-chancellor and registrar of Presidency University were stopped from entering the institute's campus Monday by a section of agitating students, who blocked the main gate demanding immediate accommodation in an adjacent hostel. Ujan, a member of Independent Consolidation (IC) and one of the 50 students who had been agitating at the institute since August 3, said he inspected Hindu Hostel Sunday along with others and found two blocks ready for use.
"The authorities have been claiming that the hostel is undergoing renovation work, but we found out that two of the six blocks are suitable for use. With no solution in sight, we bolted the main gate in the morning, demanding we be allowed to put up in those two blocks," he said.
VC Anuradha Lohia, who had to return from the gate along with Registrar Debajyoti Konar, expressed concern that the agitation might affect tomorrow's convocation ceremony.
"Only a section of students are involved in such activities (protest). I don't want tomorrow's (Tuesday) convocation ceremony to get affected in any way," she said.
Anuradha Lohia, however, clarified that she would not seek police help to sort out the matter under any circumstances.
Ujan, on behalf of the agitating students, said the university authorities should have taken note of the students who fell ill during the course of the agitation.
"We are not against the convocation ceremony as it involves the prestige of Presidency. But the authorities must take a note of the fact that 14 of our batch mates fell ill since August 3 and one of them is still recovering in hospital," he said, adding that the authorities were insensitive to their plight.
The vice chancellor had on several occasions in the past urged the students to wait for another six months for the completion of the repair work.
Asked about reports of three to four agitating students suffering from malaria and viral fever, Anuradha Lohia had said, "I have been requesting the students to take care of their health, not to lie on campus veranda, but return to their present rented accommodation at New Town."
The Hindu Hostel, adjoining the College Street institute, was shut down for repairs on July 29, 2015, and 150 boarders were shifted to a rented accommodation at New Town.
The Presidency authorities had last year assured the students that all six blocks of the hostel would be opened for the boarders after completion of renovation work by the first week of August this year. However, work was delayed due to various reasons.
Protesting the delay, around 50 students had been observing a sit-in on the university campus since August 3, demanding room allotment in Hindu Hostel.
They claimed that their present accommodation in New Town was far from the institute and travelling over 18km to each the campus incurred additional costs and killed time. Trashing the claim that two of six blocks at Hindu Hotel were ready for accommodation, the university authorities said the repair work would take some time and not much can be done about it.
Reacting to Monday morning's incident, Education minister Partha Chatterjee told reporters this morning that the agitators have inherited the legacy of raising slogans from erstwhile Left rule in the state.
"These agitators have inherited the legacy of raising slogans and campaigning at factory gates from 34 years of Left rule. But the Presidency University is an educational institution, not a factory," Mr. Chatterjee asserted.
The minister, however, stressed that the university authorities should deal with the students compassionately.
"I had been stating all along that the Hindu hostel issue should be treated expeditiously and sympathetically. But it is up to the varsity authorities to decide," he added.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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