The convocation of the Presidency University was on Tuesday shifted outside the campus in the wake of agitation by a section of students over hostel accommodation.
Expressing disappointment over blocking of the varsity main gate by the protesting students on Monday, Vice-Chancellor Anuradha Lohia said, "We had to shift the venue of the convocation from the university campus to Nandan Complex to ensure that the security of the two dignitaries, who would be conferred honorary degrees, was not put at risk."
The agitating students have been demanding immediate accommodation in Hindu Hostel.
"It is extremely unfortunate we could not hold the function in Presidency campus itself and had to shift, due to the agitation of a section of students," she said.
Lohia said the varsity authorities had informed Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, who is also the Chancellor of the university, about the developments and he suggested that "we should settle for a venue other than the campus and the Raj Bhawan".
The Governor, however, was not present at the convocation, which lasted for around an hour, due to other preoccupations.
Eminent scientist and Bharat Ratna recipient C N R Rao and veteran actor Soumitra Chatterjee were conferred DSc and D Litt (Honoris Causa), respectively, at the sixth convocation of Presidency University on Tuesday.
Rao called upon the students to come to an understanding with the authorities.
"This is a highly reputed institution and students are also part of the institution," he said.
Chatterjee told reporters that the students must sit for talks, and a decision has to be taken keeping in mind the interest of everyone.
"From whatever I have seen, the Vice-Chancellor is a pragmatic person. Students should also be pragmatic in their approach," he said.
The decision to hold the sixth convocation at state-run cultural complex Nandan was prompted after the section of students, agitating for immediate accommodation to Hindu Hostel, bolted the varsity main gate from inside on Monday, forcing the VC and other faculty members to leave without entering the campus.
"I fail to realise why some of the students are insisting on allowing them at the Hindu Hostel on an immediate basis, when the place is yet to be declared fit for use by concerned agencies like the PWD. There are certain protocols involved in maintenance of a property of an institution and my hands are tied," Lohia said.
"What will be their priority? Pursuing studies or demanding accommodation in an under-repair hostel when they have been given an alternative accommodation already at New Town?" the VC wondered.
One of the agitating students, Ujan, however, said they did not disturb the convocation programme.
"We have not disrupted the convocation and today the main gate of the university has been kept open to facilitate organising the convocation," he said.
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