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Presidency students confine VC, she refuses to quit

IANS  |  Kolkata 

Presidency University Vice Chancellor Anuradha Lohia on Saturday refused to quit, even as some students continued to confine her since Friday night demanding her resignation for non-action during an alleged police assault.

The students have been agitating, saying many of them were roughed up by police during the Friday visit of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

While the agitation put a question mark over the university's third convocation ceremony scheduled for the day, a firm Lohia insisted that the ceremony will be organised as scheduled.

Lohia subsequently was advised hospitalisation by doctors who said she was stressed and anxious.

"Her blood pressure is low and she is suffering from anxiety which is making her nauseous. We have advised hospitalisation but she says she will attend the convocation on Saturday evening and then go," a doctor said.

Lohia called the students' demand illogical, asserting she will not quit.

"They had a scuffle with the police personnel who were present to protect a VIP. I did not call police. Why should I resign?" Lohia said on Saturday, describing the call for her resignation "illogical".

She also asserted that the convocation ceremony will be held as scheduled.

"The convocation ceremony will be held as scheduled. Why should it be stopped? We haven't done anything wrong. We will hand out the degrees to students who are willing to take them. Those who don't want them proves the degree has no value for them," said Lohia.

Trouble started on Friday during the chief minister's visit when a section of students greeted her with black flags and shouted slogans demanding action against those behind the vandalising of the heritage Baker Laboratory of the university in 2013.

"We have been protesting peacefully but the policemen accompanying the chief minister assaulted us for no reason. Despite our repeated pleas, the VC has refused to take any action. She has failed the institution and the students, so we are demanding her resignation," said an agitating student.

Meanwhile, another section of students have opposed the demand for Lohia's resignation claiming only a "minority" of students want her to go.

"She has done a lot for this institution, the students and the faculty respect her. We don't want her to go. In fact, only a handful of students are demanding her resignation," said a student opposing the agitation.

During the day, the Trinamool Chhatra Parishad -- the students' wing of the ruling Trinamool Congress -- took out a rally in the city denouncing the Presidency agitation.

Meanwhile, opposition parties slammed the Trinamool for interfering in in Bengal.

State Congress president Adir Chowdhury said: "Whatever is happening is not an isolated case but there is anarchy in the sector and it is all due to Trinamool. The way it is infesting violence in campus, the day is not far away when actual goons will take over student politics."

Leader of Opposition and CPI-M state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra tweeted: "Strongly condemning d brutal police lathicharge on protesting students of Presidency. Unite & fight against this anti democratic gov."

First Published: Sat, August 22 2015. 16:50 IST