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Presidency fast ends
- Ice melts with promise of talks on admission process

Calcutta, June 10: Members of the Presidency College Students' Union called off their hunger strike late tonight following the principal's written assurance that all admission-related issues that triggered their agitation would be discussed with the Teachers' Council.

Mamata Roy Choudhuri handed a paper containing her promise to the students after a five-hour meeting that started at 5.30 pm.

'We have called off the strike, but we will carry on with our demonstrations till some concrete decisions are taken,' said Sayantan Saha Roy, general secretary of the Independents' Consolidation (IC)-led students' union.

The marathon meeting, also attended by teachers' representatives, broke the deadlock but couldn't arrive at a decision on whether mark sheets of admission-seekers should be stamped when forms are issued in 2007.

The students had sought a written assurance that the college will resume the practice that was stopped this year.

Representatives of the union had earlier alleged that the 'lax' attitude of the college administration had encouraged members of the Students' Federation of India (SFI) to provide forms to admission-seekers 'through the backdoor'.

They had also said that a section of the administrative staff had told them that some forms have gone missing from the office.

Some students, however, are still angry over the principal's remarks before the media branding their movement 'shameful and inappropriate'.

Abhirup Dam, an IC member, said: 'It is disappointing that the teachers have not withdrawn the accusations levelled against us. So our demonstrations will continue.'

Roy Choudhuri had sent letters to the parents of the fasting students saying the college would not be responsible for their actions.

The students had wanted a written declaration from the principal saying the students had behaved responsibly and tried to uphold Presidency's prestige. 'We were hurt and insulted by her statements. We want her to appreciate our feelings for the institution,' said Anirban Mondol, a second-year student.

'What has been done cannot be undone but the principal must assure us that our views will be considered while deciding the admission procedure next time,' he added.

Students' union leader Sayantan, whose parents had received the principal's college-not-responsible missive, alleged earlier in the day that officers of the Jorasanko police station had threatened his family. A policeman apparently told the parents that Sayantan and his fasting friends would be arrested if they did not end their protest.

IC members had ghera- oed the principal and several other teachers in the college from yesterday until this afternoon.

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