Presidency University Anuradha Lohia made her dramatic exit at 6 AM walking through the side door of the chamber on the first floor. (Photo Credit: File )
After remaining in confinement by the agitating students for 16 hours, vice-chancellor of Presidency University Anuradha Lohia on Tuesday morning slipped through the side door of her chamber. Lohia made her dramatic exit at 6 AM walking through the side door of the chamber on the first floor, unnoticed by the students who continued with their demonstration in front of the main door, University officials said.
She than quietly came down through the stairs to leave the campus for her home, they added. The V-C came back to the university campus in College Street area around 3 PM and remained in her chamber even as students sat outside the main door and shouted slogans.
“Yes, I am back in the university, but can't speak to you now,” she told PTI when contacted for comment on the issue.
The agitating students said they won't prevent V-C from leaving her chamber but will not budge from the demonstration spot outside her office. The agitating students had kept the V-C hostage in her chamber since 2 pm on Monday till 6 am on Tuesday in support of their campus related demands.
Earlier known as Hindu College and Presidency College, the institution is a public state university located in College Street, Kolkata. It was elevated to university status in 2010 after functioning as a top constituent college of the University of Calcutta for about 193 years. The University had its bicentenary celebrations in 2017.
“We had demanded a categorical reply from the V-C 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, a protestor said.
Over 100 students continued with their sit-in before the V-C's chamber shouting slogans such as 'Tai to Boli Kaman dago, kaman dago/VC-r ghare kaman dago,' (Direct your volley of canon fires towards VC's room), 'Ei VC, Registrar aar nei darkar' (We don't need such a VC, a Registrar any more), 'Halla Bol' (Raise your voice) and 'Hum Chhinke Lenge Azadi' (We will snatch freedom).
Another student leader Debnil Paul said, "We have met some of the faculty members this afternoon and told them we don't want to disrupt academic or administrative work of the institution. We don't have any fight with our teachers and hope they will communicate our stand to the higher authorities and act as the bridge."
Among others, the agitators were demanding that the repair works in three of the five wards of the 130-year-old Hindu Hostel be completed without any delay and eight sacked hostel employees be reinstated immediately.
The protesting students also demanded that the V-C should express regret in writing over female students allegedly being prevented from taking part in a convention on the day of Saraswati Puja in the campus due to the hostel renovation issue.
Biswas alleged that despite repeated reminders, the authorities did not expedite the repair work in the Hindu Hostel and took "vindictive" action against those demanding quick completion of hostel repair.
The secretary of girls' common room Shruti Roy Muhuri alleged that university authorities were dilly-dallying over timely completion of work in wards 3, 4 and 5 of the Hindu Hostel since last year.
Dean of Students Arun Maity said to his knowledge a meeting was held between the students and some of the teachers to discuss their demands but he was not present at the meeting.
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 since July, 2015 and the boarders had been shifted to a rented accommodation at New Town as a makeshift arrangement.