Presidency University VC leaves campus after 16 hours

Students hold demonstration in front of office demanding completion of hostel renovation.

Presidency University Vice Chancellor Anuradha Lohia left the campus on the morning of February 4 after being confined in her chamber for over 16 hours due to a demonstration by students.

Ms. Lohia left her office through a side exit door at 6 a.m., though a section of students continued their sit-in in front of her office on the first floor, a university official said.

The VC did not take calls after leaving for home.

The official said, she was okay, but showed signs of stress due to prolonged confinement.

Students had launched their protest in front of the VC’s office since 2 p.m. on February 3, demanding that repair works in three of the five wards of the 130-year-old Hindu Hostel be completed without delay and eight sacked hostel employees be reinstated immediately.

“We had demanded a categorical reply from the VC about 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, an IC member, and one of the agitators said.

The protesting students also demanded that the VC express regret in writing, over female students allegedly being prevented from taking part in a convention on the day of Saraswati Puja, due to the hostel renovation issue.

Mr. Biswas alleged that despite repeated reminders, the authorities did not expedite repair work in the Hindu Hostel and took “vindictive” action against those demanding its quick completion.

He alleged that female students demanding quick completion of renovation were viciously prevented from entering the campus on January 29 to attend the convention.

The secretary of girls’ common room, Shruti Roy Muhuri, alleged university authorities were dilly-dallying over timely completion of the work in wards 3, 4 and 5 of the Hindu Hostel since last year.

Over 30 students are put up in a very limited space of the two renovated wards, she claimed.

Dean of Students Arun Maity said, “I am in an urgent meeting, please call me later.”

Two wards of the Hindu Hostel, under repair for three years, were opened for students 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 as a makeshift arrangement.

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