The woman (face blurred) being taken away from the university. Picture by Kundan Yolmo
Siliguri, Nov. 26: A 34-year-old former student of North Bengal University tried to immolate herself in front of the vice-chancellor’s office this afternoon, allegedly after he refused to meet her.
The woman was demanding an answer as to why she got zero in an interview conducted by the College Service Commission (CSC) recently for recruitment of lecturers. She was later arrested and released on bail.
According to NBU sources, the woman made her way to VC Arunava Basumajumdar’s chamber around 11am and was told by him to wait in the adjoining room.
However, she refused to listen and tried to forcibly enter his office. On being prevented by the VC’s secretary, Shankari Saha, she took out a bottle of kerosene from her bag, which she had hid beneath the shawl, and doused herself with it.
“She even had a box of matchsticks in her hand but the secretary snatched the bottle and the matchsticks from her on time. The other staff members present there then led her to the vice-chancellor’s chamber,” a witness said.
The varsity authorities informed police. Four women constables tried to pacify her for almost three hours inside vice-chancellor’s chamber before taking her to the Matigara police station.
“Why have I been given zero for my College Service Commission interview? Why have they not taken my experience into account? I need an answer from the NBU officials. Why are they not able to look me in the eye? I am desperately in need of a job,” the woman shouted hysterically as she was being escorted to the police vehicle.
The woman, a PhD in mathematics from NBU, had qualified the National Eligibility Test for lectureship this year. She had appeared for the CSC interview, the results of which were declared last night. However, when her name did not figure in the CSC list of qualifiers, she came to “protest” before the varsity authorities.
A senior official of the varsity said those who qualify in the NET usually appear for the CSC interview directly and are marked on academic qualifications, research papers published, teaching experience and viva-voce. “The marking system is known to the students and except for the viva-voce, students can more or less find out for themselves how much they can expect in each category,” he said.
The woman claimed that if she had been marked even the minimum in viva-voce, she was entitled to 49 percentile.
According to results put up by CSC, four general category students from NBU have qualified in the maths stream with the lowest score being 48.94 percentile.
Originally a resident of Nilkuti Baburhat in Cooch Behar, the woman has been living alone in a rented accommodation in Hakimpara here for the past few years.
“I did my schooling at Suniti Academy in Cooch Behar and got my BSc degree in mathematics from ABN Seal College there. In 1999, I completed my MSc from the university and my PhD too this year. A lot of journals have published my papers. Why were these not taken into account at the CSC interview? I am a happy person and like to make others happy too. But this has made me very sad. I earn only by tutoring students at my rented house in Hakimpara. I need a job desperately,” she told journalists.
The woman’s father, a retired government servant, said: “My daughter is mentally stable. I will be leaving for Siliguri immediately but for the time being I have told my relatives there to take care of her.”
The varsity authorities lodged a general diary narrating the incident with the Matigara police station.
“We had not filed any complaints against the woman and had requested the police to deal with the matter with a humanitarian approach,” said a senior official of the varsity.