In a small auditorium of Nandan, located in the Kolkata’s cultural complex, Presidency University held its convocation on Tuesday morning. The auditorium that can barely accommodate 100 people had veteran Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee and former scientific adviser to the Prime Minister C.N.R. Rao receiving honorary degrees D. Litt and D.Sc degree respectively. No student of the University was present. University Chancellor and State Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi also stayed away from the convocation which ended in 40 minutes. The 200-year-old institution was forced to hold the convocation at an auditorium mainly meant for screening of films as a section of the students had not allowed the authorities to enter the campus on college street. “Students should remember that they have not come to live in Hindu hostel. But to study in Presidency University. What is it that makes that particular location and that particular building so important,” Vice-Chancellor of Presidency University Anuradha Lohia, said during the convocation. Large placard Prof. Lohia explained to the gathering that it was the student’s protests that has forced the University to hold their convocation at Nandan and not at the University premises. On Monday morning, the Vice-Chancellor and other authorities found that the gate of the University was locked by students who put up large placard which stated, ‘Presidency University is closed …..Renovation of Hindu hostel is going on’.A section of students of the institution have been protesting for the past one month over demands that they be allowed to stay at the Hindu hostel, close to the University campus on college street, which is under renovation. The University has made alternative arrangements for boarding of the students at its New Town campus and made arrangements free travel. The Vice-Chancellor argued that as a custodian of the University, she cannot push beyond a certain level and jeopardise safety of the issue.“That they want to stay in the hostel right now, does not sound rationale. It does not sound like students of Presidency University,” she said. Prof. Lohia said she will not use force against the students and will not force herself inside the University campus. Meanwhile, a section of protesting students said that the University authorities cannot put the blame entirely on the students. “Over the past 40 days we tried to argue our case with the Vice-Chancellor but she did not listen. Now by passing the responsibility of what happened today on students, the Vice-Chancellor is passing the responsibility and trying to score points before the State government,” Shuvajit Sarkar, a second year postgraduate student of History said.
Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi has urged Union Home Minister Amit Shah to ensure “justice” to Kargil war veteran Mohammad Sanaullah, who has been recently declared a ‘foreigner’ and sent to a detention camp. Mr. Gogoi, in his letter to Mr. Shah, made available to the media on Thursday, urged him to institute an inquiry into the alleged inefficiency of police officers who verified his documents and the subsequent declaration of the former Army personnel as ‘foreigner’ by the Foreigners’ Tribunal at Boko. The Congress MP, elected to the Lok Sabha for the second consecutive term from Kaliabor, demanded that the erring officials be barred from continuing their duty in such “irresponsible manner”. People of Assam are pinning hopes on the central government for justice, he insisted. “Sanaullah’s long service in the armed forces is proof of his patriotism and citizenship and we sincerely want relief for the veteran aAmyman,” the MP added. A resident Kolohikash village in Boko area of Kamrup district, Mr. Sanaullah was serving as a sub-inspector in the Assam Border Police before being declared a “foreigner” on May 23 and dismissed from service.Decorated ArmymanEarlier, he had also served in the Electronic and Mechanical Services of the armed forces and was awarded the President’s Medal in 2014. He is currently lodged at a detention centre at Goalpara district in the State.